Emily N. Paulison of Corpus Christi, Texas, was one of 483 seniors who graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine, on May 24, receiving a bachelor of arts degree at the College's 194th Commencement. Iconic actor and filmmaker Robert Redford was the guest speaker.

Paulison, who majored in psychology with a neuroscience concentration, is the daughter of Deborah Noble of Corpus Christi, Texas and Robert Paulison of Corpus Christi, Texas, and a graduate of Flour Bluff High School.

In front of a crowd numbering in the thousands, Redford spoke about challenges graduates will face and the need for collaboration and connection, saying, "Don't be afraid to take a risk, don't be afraid of failure, be bold."

"You're stepping into a world that's, well, pretty rough. It's pretty chaotic, pretty divisive," Redford told graduates. "You've got climate change, you've got debt, you've got wars, you've got political paralysis. It's kind of a grim story. But the story, I think, can be retold, and I really believe that you're the ones to do it. ... This school has provided you with the tools and it's provided you with the history ... to go out in the world and make a difference."

Colby President David A. Greene, presiding over his first commencement since taking office last summer, handed a diploma to each of the graduates.

Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America's most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby offers a rigorous academic program rooted in deep exploration of ideas and close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 57 majors or developing their own. Independent and collaborative research, study abroad, and internships offer robust opportunities to prepare students for postgraduate success. Colby is home to a community of 1,850 dedicated and diverse students from around the globe. Its Maine location provides easy access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.