Academic Ceremonies - December Commencement
William Vitagliano, Class of 2012
Vice President of the Student Government Association
Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished faculty and staff, administrators, friends and family and of course, the graduating class of 2011. It’s been quite the momentous 4 years has it not: the death of Michael Jackson, the rise of Lady Gaga, phantom vibrations from your cell phone and the takeover of GTL. But now it is time to accept our responsibilities as adults and enter the workforce; put to use our new skills, topple social norms and be the change we wish to see.
I understand that in about 30 years, most likely 30 minutes, you will not remember this speech. You will remember the parties from the past four years, the memories you made, the friends you made and this day: your friends, and family all watching you receive your diploma. Consider this diploma your promise to your parents, offspring and yourselves. With it you make a promise to better our present and future. This is what matters.
Remember the pride you feel in your heart and the confidence in your mind from this day. Hold your character true to yourself and never forget your potential. You have overcome obstacles in the past and you can surely do it again and again. Winston Churchill articulated this sentiment well: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
4 years have flashed before our eyes. Ask yourselves this: are you a stronger, more conscientious human being as a result of your college education? Are you ready to put your education and solidified moral ideals to good use and practice? We have inherited a world full of adversity, and as expressed earlier, with this diploma you accept the responsibility to clean up after previous generations, stabilize the present and brighten the future.
The atmosphere of college is idealistic and culturally hegemonic. Here we are able to freely express our ideas while surrounded by like-minded individuals, but we will soon be stripped of this comfort to find ourselves face to face with our ideological opposites. We must understand their ideas with conviction, expression and the force of will.
This requires confidence in oneself and understanding that your views and beliefs are unique. Through facing opposition we are better and stronger citizens and this effort will reflect itself in the world around us.
Don’t fear making mistakes, these will become the basis for your future and the foundation for your development. Mistakes are essential to learning and moving forward.
Lastly and most importantly remain true to yourself and never lose sight of your individuality, because the moment you lose yourself you lose your identity and become just another face in the crowd.
I am truly proud of you all, continue being the accomplished individual you are and always cherish your wonderful experiences at the University of Vermont.
Congratulation Class of 2011!
Last modified January 16 2012 10:43 AM