Dear President Switzer, Alumni Association, Faculty, Family, Friends:
On behalf of my fellow graduates, I would like to thank you for your kind words on this special day. Some of our most-cherished memories now encompass this place we have called home for the past four years. We have laughed in our dorm rooms, cried in each other’s arms, and found extraordinary mentors and lifelong friends who we know will be with us in the days and years ahead.
We couldn’t have been here without those who sacrificed their time and lives to better ours. To our exceptional professors, some of whom are part-time rock stars, who pushed us to work harder and reach higher, all the while encouraging us to believe in our talents and abilities, we thank you. Our tireless family members who offered us words of wisdom, shoulders to lean on, and even financed our calls to Pizza Hut, we salute you. Our treasured friends who spent hours listening to our worries and tried their best to resolve our dilemmas by surrounding us with fun and laughter, we don’t know what we would have done without you. We thank you all.
Not all of us are certain of where we will go from here, but today is about celebrating how far we have already come and internalizing the bigger picture. A friend once said, “I used to complain about not having shoes until I met a man who had no feet – It's your perspective.” Our education at Manchester College above all taught us that – not to lose our perspective.
To give back in small ways even when we don’t have much to spare, to not just dream but act, to look beyond “I” and “Me.” Perspective. As we take our first steps outside Manchester to search for our calling, what will help us maintain that outlook are the values of our alma mater, exemplified in people like Carl Strike, our groundskeeper of over 20 years, an icon with a long, white beard and a cheerful wave to all, a man who wakes up early come rain or snow to maintain the beauty of our surroundings and clear our paths as we walk to class. I pray we will embody Carl’s tenacity, Carl’s enthusiasm, and Carl’s compassion in our lives.
The future belongs to those who believe in their dreams, live their passion and stay true to their values. The future belongs to us. May it be all that we hope it will be. Congratulations Graduates! We Did It!