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Matthews and Pinto will deliver speeches on the meaning of success

Today?s commencement ceremony will be marked by two notable speeches. The first will be a student-composed speech by Paul Pinto, a music composition major, titled ?What Comes Next??; the keynote will be given by Carnegie Mellon alumna Candace Sheffield Matthews.

Matthews is president of SoftSheen-Carson, a division of the L?Or?al corporation and one of the world?s leading makers of ethnic hair care and beauty products. She also serves on the Carnegie Mellon Board of Trustees.

Pinto was chosen from a wide array of graduating students, all of whom wrote and performed speeches before a committee of students, faculty, and staff. Brian Curfman, the housefellow for Morewood Gardens and a coordinator of student development, is serving his third year as head of that committee. He explained the selection process via e-mail.

?The quality of the applications are always high, as you might expect from CMU students. The committee is always appreciative of the hard work and effort that every student puts into their speech, but ultimately, only one speech can be selected to demonstrate the values and ideals of Carnegie Mellon University. This year, that student was Paul F. Pinto,? wrote Curfman.

Matthews was chosen by a somewhat different process. She explained why she believes she was asked to be the keynote speaker.

?[President Jared Cohon] heard me speak at homecoming last year when I was given the Alumni Merit Award. And he came up to me afterward and said, ?I love how you connected to the students. One day, I?m going to ask you to come back and speak again.? Little did I know that it would be [for] Commencement.?

Matthews explained why she believes she has such a connection to students.

?A lot of it is that I had very humble beginnings coming from western Pennsylvania. I?ve been blessed with a lot of opportunity, and a lot of it is based on the education I received. I often talk to students about what it is to be normal and succeed. I think the students really like hearing that you can start from wherever it is and become something,? she said.

Cohon commented on Matthews? achievements in a recent issue of Carnegie Mellon Today: ?It?s particularly gratifying to have an alumna of Candace Matthews? stature as our commencement speaker.... Candace?s meteoric rise outside her area of technical education is a testament to her own creativity and hard work and, we also hope, to the skill set she received as a student here.?

Pinto said that in his speech he was trying to convey a sense of pride, not just in CMU but in what the graduates have accomplished in their time here.

?I want [my listeners] to be proud of what they got out of [CMU], regardless of how tough their major was or how easy it was, or how many hours of work they did. That doesn?t matter. It?s just a matter of, when you?re done, when you walk away from that field, do you feel like you?ve accomplished something while you?re here. Not just getting good grades, but do you feel like you?ve spent your time here well. I think that?s important,? said Pinto. ?Not just your activities, but also your approach: your approach to learning, your approach to hanging out, your approach to living in dorms.?

According to Matthews, her speech will be centered around the words of wisdom bestowed upon her by her mother, and how they apply to the world, such as ?you don?t get a second chance to make a first impression,? though at the same time, ?don?t judge a book by its cover.?

Matthews said her speech will be mostly lighthearted rather than heavy handed. It will mention anecdotes from her experience in the corporate world, which includes a vice presidency at The Coca-Cola Company as well as senior marketing positions at the CIBA Vision Corporation, Bausch & Lomb, Procter & Gamble, and General Mills.

Being an engineering student at Carnegie Mellon prepared Matthews well for the challenges she would face later in life.

?No matter what discipline that I went into after that, the analytics of learning how to take things apart and build them back together and also how to multitask is incredible. The other thing that Carnegie Mellon teaches you is that you can?t give up on your passions even [if they are] not your major,? she said. ?It helps to keep balance and make sure that you aren?t so one-dimensional.?

Pinto also commented on the benefits of receiving a multi-faceted education, citing CMU?s expectation that students will take classes and pursue interests outside of their majors. ?I think we should be proud to go to a school like this. Not enough people are; I think too many students are cynical like that. But I think I got so much out of here, and it?s not something that easily leaves you,? said Pinto.

Pinto described his speech as having a conversational style, without bold, sweeping statements, but rather simple reflections. ?It?s just chatting,? he said.

Today, Matthews lives in the greater Chicago area with her husband and twin daughters. She said that outside of her family, her greatest accomplishment was becoming a division president by age 42, eight years ahead of her long-term goal to be a division president by age 50. Much of her success she attributes to the opportunities given to her by Carnegie Mellon.

?I received a small scholarship when I entered the University, and my first job as a work/study student was in the admissions office,? said Matthews. ?They said, ?If you continue to get great grades, we?ll continue to make sure that your scholarships are there.? So I feel that they invested in me, and as a result, I really have become something, and I owe a tremendous amount to the University.?

Paul Pinto will begin his enrollment next year in the masters of music program in Scotland at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow. His list of accomplishments is lengthy: He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor fraternity. He has spent two years as an RA in Morewood Gardens and three years as a Girl Scout merit badge counselor. He has performed with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and his composition ?1984: Images for Orchestra,? premiered in March at Pittsburgh?s Carnegie Music Hall. The Het Hirten Trio will perform Pinto?s composition, ?to sleep,? in the Netherlands this season.

Pinto was chosen from a diverse group of graduating students, all of whom wrote and performed speeches before a committee of students, faculty, and staff. Brian Curfman, the housefellow for Morewood Gardens and a coordinator of student development, is serving his third year as head of that committee. He explained the selection process via e-mail.

?The quality of the applications are always high, as you might expect from CMU students. The committee is always appreciative of the hard work and effort that every student puts into their speech, but ultimately, only one speech can be selected to demonstrate the values and ideals of Carnegie Mellon University. This year, that student was Paul F. Pinto,? wrote Curfman.

Matthews was chosen by a somewhat different process. She explained why she believes she was asked to be the keynote speaker. ?[President Jared Cohon] heard me speak at homecoming last year when I was given the Alumni Merit Award. And he came up to me afterward and said, ?I love how you connected to the students. One day, I?m going to ask you to come back and speak again.? Little did I know that it would be [for] Commencement.?

Matthews explained why she believes she has such a connection to students. ?Because I?ve lived it,? she said. ?A lot of it is that I had very humble beginnings coming from western Pennsylvania. I?ve been blessed with a lot of opportunity, and a lot of it is based on the education I received. I often talk to students about what it is to be normal and succeed. I think the students really like hearing that you can start from wherever it is and become something.?

Cohon commented on Matthews' achievements in a recent issue of [i]Carnegie Mellon Today[/i]:"It's particularly gratifying to have an alumna of Candace Matthews' stature as our commencement speaker.... Candace's meteoric rise outside her area of technical education is a testament to her own creativity and hard work and, we also hope, to the skill set she received as a student here."

Pinto said that in his speech he was trying to convey a sense of pride, not just in Carnegie Mellon but in what the graduates have accomplished in their time here. ?I want [my listeners] to be proud of what they got out of [CMU], regardless of how tough their major was or how easy it was, or how many hours of work they did. That doesn?t matter. It?s just a matter of, when you?re done, when you walk away from that field, do you feel like you?ve accomplished something while you?re here. Not just getting good grades, but do you feel like you?ve spent your time here well. I think that?s important,? said Pinto. ?Not just your activities, but also your approach: your approach to learning, your approach to hanging out, your approach to living in dorms.?

According to Matthews, her speech will be centered around the words of wisdom bestowed upon her by her mother, and how they apply to the world, such as ?you don?t get a second chance to make a first impression,? though at the same time, ?don?t judge a book by its cover.?

Matthews said her speech will be mostly lighthearted rather than heavy handed. It will mention anecdotes from her experience in the corporate world, which includes a vice presidency at The Coca-Cola Company as well as senior marketing positions at the CIBA Vision Corporation, Bausch & Lomb, Procter & Gamble and General Mills.

Being an engineering student at Carnegie Mellon prepared Matthews well for the challenges she would face later in life. ?No matter what discipline that I went into after that, the analytics of learning how to take things apart and build them back together and also how to multitask is incredible. The other thing that Carnegie Mellon teaches you is that you can?t give up on your passions even [if they are] not your major,? she said. ?It helps to keep balance and make sure that you aren?t so one-dimensional."

Pinto also commented on the benefits of receiving a multi-faceted education, citing CMU?s expectation that students will take classes and pursue interests outside of their majors.

?I think we should be proud to go to a school like this. Not enough people are; I think too many students are cynical like that. But I think I got so much out of here, and it?s not something that easily leaves you,? said Pinto.

Pinto described his speech as having a conversational style, without bold, sweeping statements, but rather simple reflections. ?It?s just chatting,? he said.

Today, Matthews lives in the greater Chicago area with her husband and twin daughters. She says that outside of her family, her greatest accomplishment was becoming a division president by age 42, eight years ahead of her long-term goal to be a division president by age fifty. Much of her success she attributes to the opportunities given to her by Carnegie Mellon.

?I received a small scholarship when I entered the University, and my first job as a work/study student was in the admissions office,? said Matthews. ?They said, ?If you continue to get great grades, we?ll continue to make sure that your scholarships are there.? So I feel that they invested in me, and as a result, I really have become something, and I owe a tremendous amount to the University.?

Paul Pinto will begin his enrollment next year in the masters of music program in Scotland at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow. His list of accomplishments is lengthy: he is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor fraternity. He has spent two years as an RA in Morewood Gardens and three years as a Girl Scout merit badge counselor. He has performed with the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, and his composition ?1984: Images for Orchestra,? premiered in March at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Music Hall. The Het Hirten Trio will perform Pinto?s composition, ?to sleep,? in the Netherlands this season.