Good afternoon, friends, and CONGRATULATIONS!
Hours of work; time spent questioning, prodding, reasoning, deciding, conversing, listening, reading, writing – all aimed at sculpting us into who we are today, our SELVES – in all facets of our being. This time of training – intense, engaging, supportive, tedious, and ultimately rewarding – is coming to a close with today's ceremony. I can't help but wonder if the closing of this door and the opening of the next happen with a whimper or a bang.
My dear friends, this time spent at Manchester College is not simply a collection of heavy memories, good and bad, to weigh us down as we emerge into the world. No! These memories and experiences are our muscle. The words of our mentors and the lessons of our texts and papers are integrated into our SELVES. Like muscle, developed over time, they ENABLE and EMPOWER us for whatever lies around the bend.
And my dear friends, what is around the bend? The future is unknown and uncertain, but I am CONVINCED that our collective and personal experiences here have prepared us sufficiently with ability and conviction to enter into the world, to "be the change we wish to see in the world," to CHALLENGE systems that refuse to see the infinite worth of each individual, and to craft solutions to the many conflicts and tensions mounting in our world.
Let us accept this responsibility with humility, gratitude, and hope. With fresh eyes and energy, let us face the future, steadfast and sure, always connected to and empowered by this network of cheering supporters at Manchester College.
Whether you become a tax accountant or an alpaca farmer, a public school teacher or a radio station DJ, a fry cook or a peace-promoting athletic philosopher, you can change the world for the better. Through smiles and thank-yous, everyday decisions and conversations, public policy and legislation, let's make a difference in this world!