University of Vermont

216th Commencement Ceremonies - May 20 and 21, 2017

Julie L. Roberts,
University Marshal and President of the Faculty Senate

Julie Roberts

Good morning and welcome.

As representative of the faculty body, I am delighted to be here today on this very special occasion. The faculty at the University of Vermont take great pride in our students and their accomplishments. It has been a pleasure to have been a part of your education.

Remember that commencements are really more about beginnings than endings. We know that you’re off to a great start!

It is not easy to advise new graduates at times like these in two minutes or less. One is tempted to go for the low‑hanging fruit and trot out the wisdom of our grandmothers. Well, unfortunately, my grandmothers were not particularly wise. In fact, the only grandmotherly advice I can remember is the following saying: “Fools’ names, like their faces, always found in public places.”

And here I am, facing you at this very public celebration of your achievements, and here you are, waiting anxiously to have your name read out loud and in public as you walk across the stage and accept the diploma, certifying your graduation from the University of Vermont. So with no grandmotherly wisdom to call upon, let me share just something I wish I had known when I graduated. You are about to experience a big change. Reed Hoffman, CEO of Linked In, said: “In the world of work, every day is exam day.”

I might add: Every day is exam day without the benefit of syllabi, rubrics and review sheets. But also exam day with the potential for rewards far beyond that A at the top of your paper. You are about to experience a big change.

My advice is this: Realize now that everyone with the career they love and are challenged by has imposter syndrome. Everyone feels insecure in their skills, knowledge and qualifications from time to time. Most of us feel it often. Know this, expect this, own it, and don’t let it get in the way of embracing your dreams and saying yes to opportunities. And in spite of my grandmother’s advice, say it out loud, and in public.

Thank you, and congratulations!

Last modified June 03 2013 01:41 PM