Academic Ceremonies - Commencement
James H. Douglas,
Governor of the State of Vermont
• Good morning, everyone, and thank you for allowing me to be part of this special occasion, to join with your family, friends, and professors in congratulating you on your graduation from the University of Vermont.
• As UVM graduates, you represent the best that Vermont, and the nation, has to offer. You have learned the value of hard work and sacrifice, and reaped the rewards that effort and determination can bring.
• However, with achievement and recognition comes responsibility. As learned scholars, it is up to you to share the skills you have acquired for the good of your community, your state, and your nation.
• Today, Vermont needs your skills more than ever. Some of you maybe aware that our state is growing older – we are now the second oldest state in the nation.
• Over the last few years we have taken steps to be a competitive state in our region, throughout the country, and in global marketplace. Our success will, however, depend on you.
• There are great opportunities for you, here in Vermont, to be part of an educated workforce, which will help build a more affordable and prosperous Vermont.
• Vermont can be a place where talented young people, like yourselves, can find - or maybe even create - good paying jobs, and take advantage of our unparalleled quality of life.
• We have taken many positive steps in making Vermont more attractive for young people.
• For example, during in the last few years we succeeded in putting Vermont on the path to become the first true “e-state,” which will enable us to provide universal access to cellular and broadband coverage throughout the state.
• This measure will make our state more attractive to a variety of businesses—from high-tech companies to home-based entrepreneurs, while creating myriad medical and societal benefits through technological advancements.
• I am also proud of administration’s partnership with the University of Vermont to create the Vermont Climate Collaborative, which is developing a strategy that leverages the state’s green reputation into a leadership role in the emerging carbon credit market, while pursuing biomass research and enhancing environmental education in public schools.
• Through marshalling the best and brightest minds in our state—minds like yours—it is my hope that we will make significant progress toward our goal of becoming a world leader in the new green economy.
• That is why I proposed we use stimulus to complete a SmartVermont by making strategic investments in the 21st century infrastructure.
• In SmartVermont there are enough good jobs and interesting careers in growing sectors for Vermonters and their children; all Vermont residents have high-speed broadband with the equipment and the training to use it; e-health and electronic health records improve outcomes and lower the cost for care; and a smart electric grid means that both consumers and businesses have greater control over their electric bills and can take advantage of abundant, green off-peak power to lower both costs.
• Businesses are the engine of our economy – these investments will help them remain competitive in the global economy.
• With much exciting work already underway, there is still more to be done. If you are planning on staying in Vermont, I welcome you and look forward to working with you to improve our great state.
• If your plans take your elsewhere, I hope you use what you have learned here to improve the lives of people in your community, and I do hope you will be compelled to return to the Green Mountain State to live, work and raise your own families in the near future.
• Congratulations and best of luck in all your future endeavors.
Last modified May 25 2009 08:50 AM