University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - May Commencement

Greeting: Kathleen Virginia Doyle, Class of 2014
President of the Student Alumni Association

Kathleen DoyleGood Morning!

On our final day at this university, we have been asked to accomplish something so difficult and, until today, seemed almost impossible: waking up at 7:00 on a Sunday morning. After 4 years and $200,000 this might be our biggest accomplishment.

When initially deciding what to speak about today, my advisors suggested that I think about what UVM means to me and simply talk about that. Well, I thought a lot about this and quickly found this is much easier said than done; the meaning of UVM simply cannot be summed up in just 3 minutes. This university, this community and this city mean so many different things to me, and if you ask someone else they will have a completely different list of what they all mean to them.

That being said, the one aspect that everyone can agree on is that UVM will always be home. That was solidified the very first weekend when, as bright-eyed freshman, we were inducted into the community during the candle lighting ceremony on this very green. Though the time has finally come to move on to the next stages of your life, no matter where you end up and how far you go, UVM will always be the home that you can come back to.

It will be a home that you fondly look back on when remembering all of the antics that were had. While you may not recall what grade you got on that Pysch test, you will undoubtedly remember those all-nighters in Bailey Howe. And while we may choose to forget the pain of waking up at the crack of dawn, the feeling of catching the first chair at Stowe or Sugarbush is just unforgettable. While we each have a handful of standout memories, we will look back and remember those nights spent hanging out with friends with the most appreciation. Though we didn’t realize it at the time, this is where all of our best stories and strongest memories come from, because these friends were your family at this home.

This family understands when you say things like “our football team is undefeated” or “is it a sputies kind of night or a needs kind of night?” This family won't fight you when you say Burlington is the best college town. These friendships are what made your all-nighters bearable, surviving the long winter tolerable, and your connection to UVM that much stronger. These are the people who you never want to and never will forget.

I would like to steal a phrase from my friend who so accurately expressed on Facebook a few weeks ago the feeling that we are all experiencing at this very moment: It's the end of college and I can't decide if I want to jump up and down, cry, or throw up. The next chapter of our lives is about to take us to so many different places. Whether you’ve opted for future schooling, traveling around the world, getting a full time job, or, for the lucky few, moving back in with your parents and being what I like to call "funemployed," we will all still be Catamounts, and we’ll all still call Burlington our home. Deciding what comes next is intimidating, terrifying, and unbelievably exciting because we are finally leaving this home and this family to experience the real world.

For this moment, let's go with that first emotion: jumping up and down with joy and excitement. We have finally completed this journey and reached our goal of obtaining the world’s most expensive piece of paper. It is now time to celebrate. The crying and potentially vomiting can wait. While we are leaving UVM, this home will always be here for you, and the friends you made here will never be forgotten. Congratulations to the class of 2014 for your accomplishments. In the wise words of Fergie, "tonight's gonna be a good night"! Thank you!

Last modified May 22 2014 12:25 PM