As I accept this welcome on behalf of the Class of 2009, I realize that I am just one voice. I cannot even channel my own thoughts into one statement on my time here, so I realize that my reflections will fail to encompass our diverse experiences as a class.
As a group of individuals, we are each unique in our reasons for attending Manchester, for studying here, for growing, playing, exploring, challenging, struggling and succeeding here. The road has not been the same for all of us, but we have all traveled it. We have arrived at this day together, and this place is what we hold in common.
Here, we have built our foundation. We are now learned, though not yet wise. We have met expectations, though we have yet to set our own. We have practiced, worked, and studied, as well as skimmed over, gotten by, and given up.
It is here we have changed. Some of us are less idealistic; some of us are more. Many are eager to move on; many have made this place a home. Even within ourselves we feel the contradictions: I know what I want from life … and I have no idea what life holds for me.
The changes we’ve experienced have less to do with our degrees than with our character, with who we have become in this place. It doesn’t interest me what you will do for a living; I want to know what sustains you, and why, and what you’ll give for those you love. Your income level doesn’t interest me; I want to know if you can grow from life’s betrayals and remain true to yourself.
How you came to be here is only part of your story; I want to know if, beyond today and beyond this place, you can live a greater story that gives meaning to your life.
From our foundation built here, at Manchester College, each of our voices goes forward to meet this challenge.