University of Vermont

Ceremonial Events - Commencement

SGA Remarks

Greeting: Sam Madden, President of the Senior Class Council

Good morning Families, Friends, and Ladies and Gentlemen of The Class of 2007!

I can’t hear you! Good morning ladies and gentlemen!

That’s enough. Thank you.

Fellow graduates of the Class of 2007, it is with great honor that we graduate here today from The University of Vermont.

My Mom’s crying already. And my Dad’s gonna be when I let him know I’m staying another year. Just kidding.

Over 100 grand for this education. He says after I graduate we should be hanging the diploma on his wall.

In any case, today, I am both privileged and pleased to be asked to welcome you with a few words of encouragement – but I’ve thought to myself: what piece of wisdom can I impart to you that will somewhat ease your transition from college back to your parents’ basement? So here’s the best I could do…

When I was a freshman, at 6 feet tall, I weighed a meager one hundred and thirty pounds. Yet my head was the size it is now. It didn’t even look like a head. More like a container for a head.

Back then, I always thought that the day I would graduate and become an alum, I would feel old. My parents ask me now: They say, “Sam, you’re leaving school finally, you’re graduating, you’re heading out into the real world. How does it all feel?” And I say, “Mom, I feel old.”

My 60-year-old mother takes a deep breath, and says to me, “Sam, there are 4 stages in life: when you believe in Santa Claus, when you don’t believe in Santa Claus, when you are Santa Claus, and when you look like Santa Claus. And since you still believe in Santa Claus, you really have nothing to worry about.”

Through this consolation, however, I have to stop and laugh at how the times can change, yet some things have remained just the same…

I read an article last summer in UVM’s ‘The View,’ written by Joshua Brown, that really impressed me. It read something like this…

In 1970, let’s say, parents, you were a senior in college. You wrote your papers on a typewriter after consulting journals in the library, you completed your calculus homework with a slide rule, you called your mother from the payphone in the hall, and your biology textbook was a 5-pound, 1000-page encyclopedia.

In 2007, your daughter was a senior in college. She wrote her papers on a laptop after consulting Google, she completed her calculus homework with other students on a website, she forgot to call you from her cell phone at Starbucks, and her biology textbook was a 5-pound, 1000-page encyclopedia.

Those huge texts don’t seem to be going anywhere! This must explain why the last non-required novel I read was ‘Goosebumps 26.’

But through it all, I’ve come to realize that college has been more than just about the books I peruse, or the education. In the end, I’ve found that all I ever truly wanted was a sense of self-reliance, a bit of gratitude, and a girlfriend who works at Moe’s.

So, my fellow seniors of UVM, I ask that you forget about what the world wants and think about what YOU really want – what about YOUR lives?

I know that some of you are nostalgic today and filled with excitement and perhaps uncertainty at what the future holds.

But nonetheless, I wish to briefly convey just one message for the justification, in such a stressful time, of your need for relaxation.

Relax, and don’t be afraid to age. Just know that middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, and not the toy. Wrinkles don’t hurt, and families, my own included, are always bound to be like fudge…mostly sweet, but with a few nuts.

Seniors of the Class of 2007: Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional. Go at your own pace. Enjoy life, and never lose focus on what, or who, you love.

I’ve had a great year and wish you the best in the future.

Your Class President loves you.

Thank you, and congratulations!

Last modified June 13 2012 12:12 PM

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