Presidential Speeches

Charge to the Graduates

May 24, 2009

President Jo Young Switzer

Graduates, it seems that you just arrived here on that hot August day. Some of you were scared, most were thrilled to get out of high school, and two of you were downright obnoxious, but we were still glad you were here.

Now you are ready to leave, so I charge you to carry the core of your Manchester education with you.

First, I hope you will deal directly with problems.Your Manchester experience has taught you alternatives to violence – both physical and verbal. Your classes and friendships have taught you how to be honest and respectful. You’ve seen smart and intense professors who do not agree with one another but who respect one another. Difficulties are inevitable in life – in your families and your jobs. Choose the high road of honesty, directness, and respect.

Second, treat the Earth kindly. A Kenyan proverb says:“The Earth was not given to you by your parents. It is loaned to you by your children.” To care for the Earth does not require a complete change in your life – but it requires small decisions every day. Drive less and walk more. Use less hot water. Don’t litter. If just one person does these things, it won’t make much difference. But if we ALL do it, the impact will be immense.Start today.

Third, pass on the gifts you have been given. You worked hard to graduate, but you didn’t do it alone. Your families supported you. Your professors challenged you. You received thousands of dollars in scholarships. Sometime in the next year, even when your earnings are small, I ask that you donate something to Manchester College to help a student who follows you. People did that for you.Pass on that gift.

You are women and men of ability and conviction, and we are proud of you.

For information about speeches by President Jo Young Switzer, please contact the Office of Public Relations, 260-982-5285.

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