cheryl-pearson_web.jpgMIAMI GARDENS – Cheryl Pearson-McNeil, a senior executive at Nielsen, told more than 500 students at Florida Memorial University to “proceed with confidence” as she spoke during FMU’s recent Honors and Awards Day program.

“Your authenticity increases the value of what you bring to the table,” said McNeil, the global multimedia ratings giant’s senior vice-president of public affairs and government relations. “Embrace disappointments because the lessons you learn will contribute to your ‘secret sauce.’”

She jokingly cautioned students to dodge “professional stalkers.”

“Practice safe savings and responsible money management,” the Purdue University alumna said. “Save for emergencies and avoid unnecessary debt. Those bill collectors are professional stalkers, who won’t stop calling you.”

Honors and Awards Day celebrates the academic achievements of students and scholarship recipients. Randy James, chairman of the program committee commended the honorees.

“Today we showcase the best and brightest students we have at FMU,” James said. “This honor demonstrates their commitment to excellence and academic performance.”

William Boyd, a senior majoring in political science, was “honored” to earn a spot on the President’s List. The list showcases full-time students earning a 4.0 grade point average during a semester in the previous academic year.

“Florida Memorial University has provided an excellence [sic] undergraduate foundation for me,” Boyd said. “I am striving to be consistent and continue performing at a high level.”

Boyd, 24, who graduates next semester, plans to undertake a year-long study in Turkey and then enter an Ivy-League graduate program.

Photo: Cheryl Pearson-McNeil