President's Remarks to the Class of 2012
Your address touched on many of the themes familiar to this class: the pursuit of justice and peace, caring for the most vulnerable, reaching out to our global neighbors. It is very meaningful to all of us that the very values of the College of Our Lady of the Elms are also the last message they hear as they graduate.
On behalf of our entire community, I thank you not only for the message you shared, but more importantly, for your life that gives personal meaning to your message. May your good work continue for many years, and may you be encouraged by knowing you have the support and prayers of the Elms community. Know that we are very grateful for you presence today and for honoring our graduates.
And now, to the class of 2012,
In just a few minutes, you will complete the circle of your educational goals and move from student status to that of alumni. By awarding you a diploma today, your faculty has determined that you have completed all the requirements of your degree. Upon their recommendation, the Board of Trustees- seated behind me-has approved this award. There are still a few minutes left and they are watching you, so be careful...
This is a milestone day...for those graduating, of course, but also for the many people behind the scenes who share with you the joy of this moment: parents, who sacrificed financially and in so many other ways; spouses and friends, who prepared meals, typed papers, watched the children so you could study; donors, who provided scholarships and financial aid; your faculty and staff, who helped you get beyond the difficult moments along the way; and so many others. I know you have learned that faith, family, and friends are, perhaps, the greatest gifts life offers. Be sure you take a moment to say thank you to all who are a gift to you.
Some of you are the first in your family to receive a college degree. What a great achievement! Some of you have traveled here from distant lands to find a better life. All of you have accomplished a milestone that even today is achieved by only a small portion of our population. Perhaps you did not know that only about 30 percent of Americans earns an undergraduate degree and less than 10 percent earn a Master's. You are among the very fortunate few.
And, speaking of thanks, I want to spend my final moment with the class of 2012 expressing gratitude of all of us to you. You are the reason we come to work every day; you are the source of our pride; you are the proof that what we do is worth it all. You leave this college a better institution because of your many contributions in the classroom, in sports, in service to others, and in just being the fine people you are.
We really do not want to say goodbye, but, the moment you have worked for so long and hard is at hand. You are ready to take all that you have learned here and to make sure that this gift of a college education makes a differences, that it makes a difference for you, and for the next generation who are counting on you to help create a more just and a more peaceful world.
I leave you with a salute from all of us for a job well done and with best wishes for much happiness and success and a quote from Dr. Seuss to take with you:
"You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go."