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Dr. Stephen Hayes

Media Advisory/Press Release

Gerald Chertavian, Founder of Year Up Thanks MSPP Grads and Urges Them to Keep the Balance in Their Lives

MSPP confers 45 doctorates in clinical psychology, 47 master’s degrees and eight certificates of advanced graduate study

June 14, 2010–Boston (West Roxbury), MA—The graduates of Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) received some simple, yet essential words of wisdom from their commencement speaker on Sunday, June 6. Gerald Chertavian urged them to take a good look in the mirror once a year and take care of themselves everyday. “The bottom line is—we need you and we need you to be strong,” he said.

Chertavian—a successful international businessman turned founder of Year Up, a non-profit organization that prepares inner city youth for the corporate world--told his audience of his own deep respect for those who have chosen to work in the mental health field. He talked of several times when he was in awe of colleagues who were able, with their clinical skills, to help troubled young people in Year Up, while he felt powerless to do so. “Thus began my incredibly deep appreciation of the healing that you in the mental health field can provide others,” he said.

“And every day I am thankful that people like you have chosen to be instruments of change in the lives of others. You are the listeners, the supports, the caregivers. You are the healers. Thank you for choosing this most noble of professions,” he said.

But caring for the mental health needs of our society is stressful and requires intense emotional and personal commitment, and to preserve and maintain the quality of their work, Chertavian went on to recommend that the graduates do two things.

First. “Once a year, take a good long look in the mirror early when you are alone and it is quiet. Amidst the calm and quiet take a few minutes to honestly grade yourself as a spouse, as a parent, as a friend, as a community member and as a professional. Step back after a minute and ask yourself: ‘Am I proud of the balance I have achieved in my life?’ Then, ‘either decide to keep doing what I am doing or decide now to make a change.’”

Second. “Take good care of yourselves. After hitting the snooze button several times each morning, take 30 seconds to say out loud what you are grateful for—‘the health of my children, the love of my wife, the chance to find true meaning in my work.”

“I know how much you will be asked to give,” said Chertavian. “My overriding desire is that you give to yourselves, that you take good care of yourselves. The bottom line is—we need you and need you to be strong.”

A Harvard Business School honors graduate, Chertavian founded Year Up in 2000 following the sale of his international Internet company Conduit Communications, the last stop in a corporate career that took him from Wall Street to London and throughout the world. From 1993 to 1998, Conduit ranked as one of England’s fastest growing companies. A 25 year active participant of Big Brother, Gerald shifted his focus to working with urban youth and created Year Up.When President Obama visited the organization in 2009, he advocated for its duplication throughout the county. Year Up gives inner city youth a year of preparation for the corporate world, not only technically but also right down to the way to carry themselves and write an email, said Obama.

This year, 45 candidates for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology (PsyD), seven for the Master’s in Forensic and Counseling Psychology (MA), 17 for the master’s in Organizational Psychology (MA), eight for Certificates of Advanced Graduate Study in School Psychology (CAGS), and 23 for the Master’s in Counseling Psychology (MA) heard from Chertavian and other inspirational speakers about the challenges that they will face them as they enter the field of psychology.

Two other distinguished guests at the ceremonies joined Chertavian in receiving honorary doctor of letters degrees. They were Shani Dowd, who is the Director of Culture InSight at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation and an MSPP trustee, and Dr. Richard Mollica, who is the Director of the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

For more on Year Up, go to

Founded in 1974 as a non-profit institution of higher education, the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology is a preeminent school of psychology that integrates rigorous academic instruction with extensive field education and close attention to professional development. The School assumes an ongoing social responsibility to create programs to educate specialists of many disciplines in order to meet the evolving mental health needs of society. MSPP is committed to bringing psychologists into nearly every facet of modern life through its graduate programs in Clinical, Counseling, Forensic, Organizational and School Psychology. Located in Boston, Massachusetts, MSPP is fully accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the American Psychological Association.

Updated 6/30/10

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