Academic Ceremonies - December Celebration
Remarks: Jeffrey R. Modereger,
Today is a day for celebration and we congratulate you all. But it wasn’t that long ago that you stepped foot on this campus for the first time and instead of packing your bags as you are now, you were unpacking and trying to imagine what might be in store for you in the coming years. Years? Did I say years? You weren’t thinking about years. At that time, you couldn’t imagine past the next few days. Your mind was racing. So many things were running through your head and today you WISH those were the hardest things you would have to face. At that time you wanted to know where do I sleep, where do I eat? Who will be my friends? How do I wake up? What classes should I take and the biggest question of all……”What do I do now?” Well even though you are now 4 years older, you are sitting there, proud to be graduating, proud of your accomplishments, proud of the choices you’ve made, but I think you are all sitting there with that same question on your mind, “What do I do now?”
That’s the question asked by every graduate and heard by every advisor, teacher and mentor. As you might guess, there are no real answers for each of your journeys is different. But if you look at the distinguished members of this platform and the faculty sitting out there amidst you, well, we too asked that same question of our advisors and teachers. So graduates, I welcome to the biggest society out there. Not the society of Educated people, not the society graduates, but the society of Oh My God I have no idea what to do now?
I offer you a singular consolation, this journey on which you are embarking is the same journey we all have taken. Again, there are no answers, there are only questions. There are no absolutes, there are only possibilities. The advice we offer you, is the same advice offered to us by our mentors and those before them. As we teach and share our ideas with you, we are offering the pearls of wisdom from those who impacted us. So as you go forward and share your ideas in whatever you choose to do, there is a part of our voice that is being spoken. When you develop new ideas based on your education, you give us credibility and honor the existence of those who taught us. As you stand on the shoulders of your teachers and mentors, we stand on those shoulders of our teachers. And so it continues and so it will go forward. Soon you too will impact others and you will eventually be the pillar of support for someone else. That’s what knowledge is…….it’s a valuable gift that you pay forward. The next time you stand and look into the mirror, you will see a proud yet uncertain graduate. Next to you, you’ll see the family and friends who continue to offer you support. Now look in the background there we are, the teachers and mentors who offered you endless support, looking deeper, the generations of men and women who taught us. Remember, when you speak, you now give credibility to those that taught you and all the others who came before.
So when you’re walking down the street, whether NY or LA or Yankton, South Dakota, and all of a sudden, you slap your self in the head and say OH MY GOD, NOW I GET IT, NOW, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND WHAT SHE MENT, or you offer an anecdote from one of our classes……stop for a second, smile and think of us. Regardless of where we are, we’ll know and know we have done our job. But what is more important, we’ll think of the ones who came before us. And smile and know their voice hasn’t faded.
Last modified December 22 2009 08:56 AM