Friday, December 16, 2022
Dedicated students, distinguished colleagues and dear friends,
This weekend, over 700 of ours will be leading their own way into the future they are prepared to create. Starting tonight with our doctoral graduates, and continuing tomorrow with our bachelor’s and master’s graduates, our newest Miner alumni will enter the exciting, unfamiliar territory of contribution, innovation and possibility thinking. They are prepared to stand on the shoulders of generations of successful Miners who have changed the course of their our own lives, and the lives of many others, by realizing that, in the words of Rumi, they are “… not a drop in the ocean, but an ocean in a drop.”
We are excited to commence our fall commencement this evening with the doctoral event when Dr. Robert Wagner of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a three-time Missouri S&T graduate, will present his experiences, here at S&T and beyond. Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe will address our bachelor’s and master’s graduates at our two Saturday ceremonies. A collective and heartfelt thank you to Lt. Gov. Kehoe and Dr. Wagner for their willingness to share their thoughts, advice and guidance.
To our faculty and staff, I say thank you for your student centricity, your patience and diligence, and all your efforts to make our students’ experiences a success in and out of the classroom. You will be remembered by many for all your efforts. In fact, the most common comment I receive from our alumni of decades ago is about the impact you have had on their lives.
To our graduates, I say congratulations. You will receive your hard-earned and well-deserved Missouri S&T degrees tonight and tomorrow. Now the fun and exciting part begins! In the words of Dante Alighieri, “tonight is the beginning of always.” You are prepared, eager and ready to set the course of your lives and have a positive influence on those of others. You have developed the gift of perspective and you know the success model: to achieve your dreams, help others achieve theirs and seek those who fan your flames.
In the words of the late Fred Kummer, “think big,” then plan strategically and always strive to perform collaboratively.
In pondering your potential future endeavors, I couldn’t help but think about the lyrics of the song “Daydream,” by Lily Meola:
When we were kids in the backyard,Playing astronauts and rockstars,no one told us to stop it,called us unrealistic.Then suddenly you’re 18,go to college for your plan B,what we want is too risky,live for weekends and whiskey.We all got those big ideas,one day they are replaced with fearsHow did we get here?
My addition, if I were a songwriter: “Don’t quit dreaming, it’s your life you’re making. If it ain’t big enough, if it doesn’t scare you, doesn’t make you nervous, you ain’t riding the waves; you ain’t dreaming.”
You have earned your stripes of empowerment but not power, learned the virtues of perseverance and patience, and hopefully realize the kindness of so many who have helped you achieve!
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