Academic Ceremonies - December Commencement
David V. Rosowsky
Professor of Engineering and Provost and Senior Vice President
We have come to the end of the commencement exercises, at the end of your time as a student at the University of Vermont.
You have worked hard, you have learned so much, you have reached, you have stretched, and you have grown.
And while this is indeed a terminus, a milestone – one you will remember (I hope) fondly in the years to come – it is also a beginning.
You leave here today a Graduate of one of the nation’s great universities – a land-grant university, a major research university, a public ivy – but most importantly, now, your alma mater.
At the University of Vermont, you have learned how to learn—
We taught you critical and integrative thinking.
We taught you how to consider your work in all contexts – social, cultural, economic, political, environmental, scientific, local and global.
We taught you how to teach, and learn from, others; how to communicate across cultures and across disciplines; and how to engage as a global citizen.
We taught you how to think for yourself, but influence others.
We taught you how to think globally, but act locally.
And we taught you about the power of pluralism and the imperative of justice.
Last week, the world mourned the loss of a great leader, a great orator, a great thinker, a great humanitarian, and a great human being.
As Professor Jackson so beautifully described, Nelson Mandela has taught so many, so much. His writings and his spoken words were layered with insights, wisdom, and challenges.
He believed fundamentally in the power of education, as a lever and as a transformational force. He once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."
And we need change.
You are graduating at a time of great challenge and great opportunity for our nation, our world, our planet, and our species.
And we know you are among the brightest, most well educated, most curious, and most capable graduates of any university.
We have high hopes for each of you.
Pledge to make a difference in the world that is befitting your UVM education.
Do something good. Do something great. Do something important. UVM will always be with you. And we will always be proud.
As you leave the University of Vermont, and begin the next chapter in your life, armed with a UVM degree and membership in our family of alumni, I ask each of you to reflect on the privilege you have had to study and learn at this great university, and to work closely with such accomplished scholars and dedicated faculty.
Without UVM you would not be where you are today, or where you are going tomorrow.
I am excited to think about all of your paths ahead. And I hope they will bring you back to UVM, often.
We are counting on your success and your support. And we are already enormously proud of you.
Garrison Keillor, host of A Prairie Home Companion, always closes his remarks with the same words. “Be well. Do good work. And keep in touch.”
I would like to close with much the same sentiment. “Do great things. Keep in touch. And always remember the University of Vermont.”
Last modified January 15 2014 02:50 PM