University of Vermont

Academic Ceremonies - Commencement

Patrick Dowd, Class of 2012, President of the Class Council

Patrick Dowd

Well, are we excited Class of 2012?

When I sat down to start writing my remarks for today, I was at a loss trying to come up with what I was going say. How could I possibly know what’s important and what would mean something to the Class of 2012? I am merely one student of many. What could I say that would resonate with such a large and diverse group of peers?

I found myself looking to the words of Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde, who once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
During my four years as a student, I learned that each of us had the chance to craft our own UVM experience. By taking advantage of that opportunity, I believe each and every one of us has truly lived while at UVM, and that we have left our mark on the school, and it on us.

Part of what makes this university so special is that everyone can find a piece of UVM that they can call their own. There are so many ways to find your place and to connect with each other. When we arrived here four years ago, (well, some of us more than four) we stepped onto campus with excitement and curiosity, eager to learn about ourselves and our new surroundings. Some of us may have joined student government, taken weekend trips to snow-covered peaks, or gotten involved with politics and environmental issues. I know we all enjoyed the beauty of spring day on campus, throwing around a Frisbee or lounging on its beautiful greens. No matter what we did or where we chose to step up and get involved, we found our place here. For four years we made our home, built a community, and studied, learned and grew together.  During this journey we made great friendships, formed lasting memories, and taken pride in most everything we've done.

As students at UVM, we learned many important lessons — maybe the most important being that you can't just sit around and expect that everything will fall into place. We have found that we would only get as much from UVM as we put in, and so we chose to act. Our experiences, those lessons learned both in our formal education and in our social lives, have molded us into the individuals that we are today. Now here we are, ready to graduate. Ready, I believe, to take the next step.

I’d like to close with another great writer’s simple philosophy — Ernest Hemingway — who urged us to “live life to the fullest.” Because of our UVM education, we are all well prepared to do just that.

As members of the UVM community, we have become free thinkers, fostered our imagination, and never taken things for granted.  When you leave UVM, don't lose your youthful curiosity, your drive to be active and engaged. Though we are all headed in different directions, to new jobs, new schools, new lives and maybe to different corners of the globe, we will always have our time together here.

Wherever you find yourself, embrace a challenge. Never cease to be daring. Speak up and take action when you see injustice, because you will.

We are UVM, and we now walk in the footsteps of some giants. As the newest members of the Alumni Association we join a community that shares our UVM pride. It is time for us to join our fellow alumni and try to make a difference. I urge you all to go out and do your best to change the world, like the many graduates that have come before us.

Thank you all and congratulations Class of 2012.

Last modified June 08 2012 12:33 PM

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