‘It’s one of the greatest honors of my life:’ Congressman Maxwell Frost gives rousing Commencement speech

‘It’s one of the greatest honors of my life:’ Congressman Maxwell Frost gives rousing Commencement speech

‘It’s one of the greatest honors of my life:’ Congressman Maxwell Frost gives rousing Commencement speech


Congressman Frost gives Commencement speech.

Photo credit: Cheriss May.


Congressman Maxwell A. Frost gave the keynote address at the Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13. As the first member of Generation Z (the generation born in the late 1990s or the early 21st century) to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—and a person of Afro-Latino descent—Frost was also presented with an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the graduation ceremony by UDC Board of Trustees Chairman Christopher Bell and President Ronald Mason Jr. The Congressman was recognized for his courageous fight against gun violence and his advocacy to ensure and enhance the rights of and justice for minoritized and other marginalized citizens, helping to change laws and practices that deprive them of their rights.

When asked what the experience of speaking at UDC meant to him, Frost said, “It’s one of the greatest honors of my life to deliver Commencement, especially this early in my service as a member of Congress. It’s reaffirming the work we have done. But also, I hope we can impart some wisdom that helps many students hope, relax, and be inspired about their future.”

“There are so many pressures on young people when they graduate from something or when a big moment happens, and our society tends to compound that pressure to a point where it becomes toxic. So, the message that I have been giving young people is one of grace and stepping into their power.”

Congressman Frost did that as he rallied the students from the podium, encouraging them to celebrate this important milestone.

Congressman Maxwell A. Frost with President Mason.

President Ronald Mason Jr. and Congressman Maxwell Frost at the Commencement. Photo credit: Cheriss May.

“Graduates, you have one more course, and that is ‘Stepping into Your Power 101,’” Frost said. “It means stepping out of the sidelines and stepping up for your beliefs and the rights of others to have a voice and to live out their values and beliefs as well.”

Frost shared how his activism was ignited after the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shootings that claimed the lives of 26 people when he was only 15. He told how he was frozen in fear of becoming a victim. While being teargassed and arrested, Frost turned his fear into action by protesting gun violence on behalf of Black Lives Matter.

“My life changed when I focused my goals from who I wanted to be to what I wanted to do,” Frost told the graduates. “It shouldn’t be about sitting in a specific seat of power or being the CEO of a specific company. Your goal should be about your impact on this world. When you set goals that are about action rather than a position, it sets you up for success because it gives you the grace to do what you want to do. We have to fight for the country we want.”

Frost stated, “My message for all the graduates is simple. It doesn’t make a difference which field you are going into—use your power. Use your power and see the world through the eyes of the most vulnerable in everything you do. Don’t just step into your power but use it because I know this wasn’t easy for you to get here. Hold your head high because no one can take that away from you.”