Graduate Commencement Speech 2007
As a member of the first graduating class of Whitworth’s MBA program, I would like to thank all those who have come to celebrate with us. As expected of any new program, this year has been one of success and failures, challenges and opportunities. I’ve heard that commencement speeches were invented with the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated, I’ll do my best make it brief.
Learning comes at a cost and I don’t think any of us fully understood what that price would be. There have not only been financial costs, but sacrifices that others have made so that our education can serve a greater purpose. Sacrifices made in hopes that the price we pay now will be less than what we would have had to pay had we not obtained this degree. So, to those of you who have watched our children, employers who have granted us lenience, the family members who support our absences each Monday through Thursday from 6:00 – 9:30 p.m., we thank you. To the teachers who have given us that extra five minutes to take a break, explain a concept, or leave early to travel home as far as Idaho, no small kindness has been left unnoticed.
Finally, to the administration of the School of Business and Global Commerce, I’d like to thank you for giving us the opportunity not only to study, but to expand our knowledge through interaction with other cultures. Our eyes have been opened to globalization through our listening to and debating with students from France, Germany, New Zealand, China, Japan and Bermuda. For some of us, this exposure has led us from saying simple phrases to becoming fluent in English, Spanish, French and German. We have developed an understanding of ways to appreciate diversity and accept people like Jesus would.
Fellow graduates, my words do not suffice in expressing the admiration I have for each of you, so I asked others for their thoughts regarding our program. The responses were almost identical. We have had great teachers, supportive families, and a solid foundation, but what most of us were impressed by was the caliber of students in the program. As an example, one of the businesspersons in our class said that he was most impressed that our motives were driven by something greater than our personal gain. For besides business, we are professionals in the fields of education, law, political science, economics, and IT. Our goal is to utilize our education as a means to help others through non-profit organizations, international schools, and independent businesses. This is why we are here.
B.F. Skinner said, Education is what survives after what has been learned is forgotten. So my challenge is for you to not only remember details from the textbooks, but the lessons acquired from each other:
From Joel, the importance of Integrity
Finally, as you enter the business world, I encourage each of you to create a mental model built around the values that exemplify the reason we came to Whitworth: for an education of mind and heart. I’d like to read a quote commonly attributed to Nelson Mandela, but written by a woman named Marianne Williams in a book called A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles”.
Graduates of the School of Business and Global Commerce, you are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life, but I ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.