University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - Commencement

Greeting - Volain - Senior Class Council President

David A. Volain,
President of the Senior Class Council

David Volain

Thank you, Professor Tyzbir

Fellow students, administrators, faculty, staff, family, and friends, it is a privilege and an honor to address you all this morning. Today we graduate. Today we take everything that we have learned during our time here and apply it to the rest of our lives.

When I first started to think about what I was going to say to you all this morning that phrase intimidated me, “the rest of my life.” If all goes according to plan, that’s a lot of time. As the date got closer and closer more and more people began to ask me what my plans were for after college. I had thought of a lot of things that I’d like to do, grand endeavors I wanted to pursue, but frankly had no concrete plans. Then I began to try and broaden my horizons. I considered everything from going abroad for a year, to teaching English as a Second Language, to working on international relations in the Middle East, to going back home to lifeguard at the local pool and coach a swim team made up of 15-20 short attention-spanned 5-7 year olds. Eventually I came up with a general overall theme that I think hits home for a lot of us here at the University of Vermont. I want to make the world a better place.

As Emerson suggests, “To appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived. This is to have succeeded."

This is the ideal by which people live their lives here. This is why I chose UVM. People come to the University of Vermont not simply to get their degree and get rich, but to use what they learn to make the world a better place, to fight for social justice, to keep the environment healthy, to work towards a better future for people they will never meet and for a world they will never see.

Now as we go out into the world with all this newfound knowledge ranging from political science to neuroscience, we must always keep in mind what we have learned here among the Green Mountains: to do good; to fight for what’s right; to leave no trace; and no matter where the “rest of our lives” may take us, to leave every place we visit a little better than we found it. Thank you


Last modified May 25 2009 08:53 AM

Contact UVM © 2017 The University of Vermont - Burlington, VT 05405 - (802) 656-3131