Graduate Commencement Ceremony May 1, 2009
As I look at our newest
alumni, I see not only an outstanding group but individuals for whom one dream
has come true, and for whom many more dreams will be fulfilled. You have come
from throughout Pennsylvania, from the region and, literally, from around the
world to learn and to continue to be the current and future leaders our nation
and world now need.
In the classroom you learned the intricacies of your respective fields.
Elsewhere on campus, you learned collaboration and cooperation and you made
professional and personal friends for life. Some of you even managed to find
just a little bit of family time mixed in there among all of your other
But what you have learned that is, I think, most important, is the role you
each play in our ever-changing and challenging world. While the information you
learned will surely change, the ability to learn you acquired here will benefit
you wherever you go and in whatever you do.
James Belasco and Ralph Stayer say in their 1994 book, Flight of the
Buffalo: “Change is hard because people overestimate the value of what they
have—and underestimate the value of what they may gain by giving that up."
But you as graduates are now the leaders of tomorrow. You have skills,
talents, and energy and must move forward with character to make a better world
for all of us. The legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden said this about
character: “While you, the leader, can teach many things, character is not
taught easily to adults who arrive at your desk lacking it. Be cautious about
taking on reclamation projects regardless of the talent they may
possess. Have the courage to make character count among the qualities you seek
Along with the leadership and character that you take with tonight, you have
also given of yourself and left a little bit of yourself here. You are now part
of the legacy —you are Ship.
Thank you for allowing ship to be part of your life, and thank you for what
you have done for us.