Commencement Speech for the Class of 2007
Families and friends, distinguished faculty and honored guests, and most importantly, my fellow graduates. We are here today to celebrate our successes and accomplishments that have taken place over the course of the past few years.
Every one of us has earned our seat as a member of the University of Rhode Island’s graduating class of 2007. It was not your parents who pushed you to study for that final exam. It wasn’t the professor who held your hand while you typed that term paper. It was you. Your hard work, your determination, and your drive to succeed are finally being acknowledged today.
When we first walked onto this campus as freshmen, we were introduced to a world of freedoms. Freedoms that included staying out as late as we wanted to……as long as we were prepared to walk back from Fine Arts parking lot in the cold. Freedoms that included choosing which classes to take……as long as we could wait until the E-Campus gods decided it was time to choose. Freedoms that included being on our own for the first time and figuring out life was much more complicated than it appeared to be. As freshmen, we learned. And my fellow classmates, we’re about to become freshmen for one final time. But this time, we will be fresh men and women ready to begin life after college.
But for a moment, let’s forget we have to move on. This graduation is a celebration of not only our future but a celebration of our past. We will always be a part of each others memories and our memories will always be a part of us.
Can you remember where you were when you realized the freshman fifteen was not a myth? How about the time some of us got a bit overly exuberant during the Red Sox playoffs four years ago? Think back to your first roommate. The time the fire alarm went off and you stood outside at 2 in the morning huddled next to your friends. Everyone remembers the time they received that first parking ticket.
Remember when Hope was the dining hall of choice with Walkabout Wednesday. The days when we played Oozeball all day until our clothes were caked with mud. Where you were when the Red Sox became World Series Champions. When the blizzard hit in the winter of 2005 and snowed us in our dorms for three days without class.
Never forget the time Butch took your picture at Rojo’s. Think back to your first all-nighter….and how you felt the day after. How about when the library suddenly was buzzing with so many students during finals, you thought they were raffling off a free car? The time you and your friends stood in line overnight to get the first tickets to see Dane Cook. Think back to your first Thursday night George’s experience. Remember and laugh at the time when your friends proudly told you they received their first orange sticker. When the weather was too nice to spend it anywhere but on Narragansett Beach. And remember when you filled out your intent to graduate form and thought- is it really my turn? These are the times we’ll remember and talk about as URI alumni.
Our past and present times at URI may have shaped our futures in different ways as some of us prepare to move far away, and others, staying true to Rhode Island form, stick around. Every one of us has something different to offer to the world.
But there is a prevalent commonality among us as well. Today, we share this: the privilege of calling ourselves graduates of the University of Rhode Island. Never forget all that URI has given us and how each one of you has shaped this campus in some way, leaving a lasting impression on the people and places of this university. I want to thank you for memories of the past few years, the good times of the present, and I wish you all great success in the future. Congratulations to you, the class of 2007. Thank you.
URI Photo by Michael Salerno Photography