Notable Quotations from NAC&U Member Commencement Ceremonies

HamlineGraduation15Congratulations to the Class of 2015! Below are a few memorable quotations from commencement speeches.

Hamline University

“In a way, each of us will walk away from Hamline with a degree in global citizenship. And when asked “so what are you gonna do with that?,” we can confidently respond: ‘Make a difference.'”

—Andrew Brady, Hamline University Class of 2015

Drury University

“The quality of education you’ve had here at a small liberal arts university will serve you well for the rest of your life. All you need to do is leave Drury University with your degree in one hand and your self-esteem in the other – and look out, world.”

—Dr. Will Keim, motivational speaker and author

Wagner College

“I finished my undergrad experience 13 years ago, and the truth is, no one ever asks me anymore, ‘So, Wes, what did you major in in college?’ … The question that will never fade for you is, ‘Who did you choose to fight for? Who did you choose to stand up for when it wasn’t easy? Who did you choose to advocate for when it wasn’t convenient? Who did you choose to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with when it might have been just you two standing there, but you did it because it was the right thing to do?’ What you study will fade. Who you fight for will not.”

—Wes Moore, author

PLUKing15Pacific Lutheran University

“When the Queen and I visited PLU 20 years ago, she received an Honorary Doctorate – of which I have been informed quite a few times. I am therefore particularly proud to have been awarded an Honorary Doctorate myself. Finally, the Queen and I are equal – at least on your campus.”

—His Majesty King Harald V of Norway, who received a Doctor of Laws jure dignitatis, an honor his wife, Queen Sonja, received 20 years ago

Arcadia University

“Shouldn’t humanity’s greatest progress and achievements be measured in how we value the dignity and well-being of others? Shouldn’t we challenge the notion that some lives are seen as worth saving and others are not? My fellow graduates, we have an opportunity to serve, to give back, to empower, to teach, to inspire others, and to pursue sustainable acts of kindness and compassion. We have an opportunity to do this for those near to us and for those we call strangers, with whom we have little in common but our shared humanity.”

—Deogratias Niyizonkiza, founder of Village Health Works in the East African country of Burundi

Nazareth College

“So I stand here today to share with you that life moves you in a different direction, it is never a failure, because once you have failure in your mind, it’s hard to overcome it. So no, I did not fail.  I learned to be strong. I learned to continuously adapt, to never give up, to follow my internal GPS, because that path is just for me. For every shift in your life, take the learnings with you, embrace it,  and all the things that you didn’t want to learn?  Throw ’em away. They’re just not worth keeping.”

—Gail Evans, Microsoft

Manhattan College

“I am from a country where girls are not expected to get higher education. In Cambodia, I have female friends, who are just as capable as me, but are not given the opportunity to go to college despite that being what they want. Today, I challenge us to speak up if we see discrimination and injustice. Choose to be an advocate for the minority groups in your workplace. With our Lasallian education, we could touch many lives of those who have no voice and those who need help.”

—Kimsy Tor, Manhattan College’s undergraduate valedictorian and a mathematics major and computer science minor

ValpoGrad15aWidener University

“The value of each moment is great in its own right, regardless of what someone else may think about it. While we understand these moments did not attract job recruiters, or likes, or re-tweets, we also understand that moments like these defined our college experience and shaped us. So, as we now embark on the new adventure ahead of us, look back and reflect on the moments that no resume, or Facebook post, or Snapchat story could ever capture.”

—Viraga Perera, President’s Award Recipient

John Carroll University

“I emerged from JCU. That process was so rewarding, so fulfilling and was such a confidence builder for me that it had the counterintuitive impact of humbling me with gratitude and appreciation. The lesson of humility is first and foremost so Jesuit. I’m stunned at the humility I witness in the Jesuits I’ve met from around the world. But the lesson of humility is also very much John Carroll…It’s the people of Cleveland and it’s absolutely a hallmark of the people who make up this remarkable family we call Carroll.”

—Dave W. Short,’81, chair, John Carroll University Board of Directors

Ohio Northern University

“Never be afraid to jump into water over your head. You are going to learn how to swim.”

—Keith Krach, Chairman and CEO of DocuSign

University of La Verne

“Part of a university education is to help you find your focus, to give you the knowledge and skills to pursue it relentlessly and achieve it successfully. Build that business, that organization, that career. You can’t do it without focus. That’s the American success part.”

—Interfaith Leader/keynote speaker Eboo Patel

Valparaiso University

“The most amazing thing about the world is that anything can happen, and you have the power to make it happen.”

—Jacobie Whitley, Law School Class of 2015, President of the Valparaiso University Student Bar Association

The Sage Colleges

“One of the most important lessons I learned is to be yourself. Many places in society today we feel, especially as young women that we have to hide who we really are. But at Sage, women are encouraged to be innovative thinkers, looking outside of the box, creating change and influence.”

—Kara Hackett, 2015 graduate of The Sage Colleges

Westminster College

“Be lucky – no wise person should turn away from good fortune. Some of the students here may be the Martin Luther King Jr’s of the 21st Century.”

—Dr Clayborne Carson, Stanford University historian and the director of the King Papers Project

The University of Scranton

“In their sacred work, the faculty are released – and they release you – from ‘straight lines, blocks, boxes and binds of thought’ into a liberating appreciation of meaning, true significance and wisdom. In their sacred work, they point beyond themselves to the wisdom that life is best lived not in the promotion of self but generously in the service of others.”

—Scott R. Pilarz, S.J., the 24th president of The University of Scranton and current president of Georgetown Prep in Washington, D.C.

Stetson University

“All of us represent what others dream of and aspire to…. We owe it to the world to be the best version of ourselves. After all, no one great was a version of someone else. Put your future in good hands — your own.”

—Keith Henry, ‘15, who received his Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) degree from Stetson University’s School of Business Administration

Samford University

“We are all beneficiaries of the contributions, generosity, and support of someone besides us.”  If grateful people sit under trees they did not plant, “great people plant shade trees that they’ll never sit under. It’s time to do something productive that will bless others, even if you don’t get credit for it or reap the benefits.”

—J. Bradley Creed, Samford University provost and executive vice president (Creed will become president of Campbell University in North Carolina on July 1).

And lastly, a perennial favorite is Dr. Bob Fisher’s speech stringing together song lyrics for an inspirational speech sending off graduates at Belmont UniversityWatch the entire speech here.

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