Saturday, May 3, 2014
Good morning, NMU: Members of the Board of Trustees, President Haynes, faculty, staff, families, guests, and my fellow graduates. It is an honor and a privilege to celebrate this momentous day with everyone here!
Being finished with school has never felt so good! Let's take it all in for a second...all of those papers written...all of those hours studying for exams...all of those textbook pages turned... have challenged our physical stamina and coffee consumption skills over the past few years. Not to mention the blizzards and the freezing temperatures at times; I believe that we all have developed a thicker skin. But most importantly, we have perservered, pushed the limits and discovered that unique part of every one of us that is the Wildcat spirit.
For some, the Wildcat spirit has encouraged us to paint our bodies green and gold to cheer a sports team to victory at the Superior Dome or the Berry Events Center. For others, it has inspired breakthrough scientific discoveries in the labs of the New Science building. It could have been that courage felt when deciding to audition at the Forest Roberts Theatre, or join the Brule Run. Personally, it was the drive behind me learning a new language and culture with the French program. But I'm certain that every person graduating today has experienced the overwhelming pride of being a Wildcat during our years here together, and we have the distinct privilege of taking that spirit with us as we go our separate ways.
Going through this marvelous time of transition and promise, have you stopped to think just how significant you are to the world? The decisions that we make and the lives that we touch everyday will make an impact in the course of history. It doesn't matter which occupation we pursue or where we choose to live--we will always have the responsibility of molding the future in our hands. That is why this degree that each of us will receive today is so important. Not only is it an official statement that we have acheived a certain level of intelligence, but it also bears the name Northern Michigan University across it. A name that not only unites us all with fellow Wildcats, but tells the world that we have researched, designed, learned and succeeded with the best.
We are part of the Millenial generation; a generation characterized by some as narcissitic and somewhat lazy. With all due respect to these "experts," I couldn't disagree more. We have all witnessed amazing feats that have happened within these University borders: athletes training every day to reach for the gold...student volunteers helping to rebuild lives both in Marquette and abroad...business students launching ideas that will completely change the world as we know it...artists creating masterpieces in film, on stages and on canvas...The list is exhaustive. That means that every person here today has already redefined our Millenial generation in some way, thanks to the help of our professors and the learning environment of NMU. Now it's time for the next challenge--the challenge to take our commitment of volunteering, our knowledge of our studies, and our determination to succeed out into the world in order to serve, teach, help, and empower people...and redefine the name Millenials to mean "the generation that changed the world."
Congratulations Class of 2014! Every single one of us has already done great things...now is the time to take our Wildcat spirit forward and strive for magnificence!