At this year’s Commencement ceremony, we were fortunate to have with us David McCullough, noted author, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, and recipient of some thirty-eight honorary degrees.
His speech was eagerly anticipated for weeks prior to his arrival and it surpassed very high expectations. He was scholarly, inspiring, motivating, and filled with hope for the 450 students who listened attentively and seemed to be wrapped around every eloquent phrase.
Prior to Mr. McCullough, the audience was treated to an inspiring student speaker, Debra-lee Sawyer. Debra spoke with the students rather than to them, as one of them. Though her style was different from that of the man who would follow her, from each of them emerged a common theme … possibilities …
… Possibilities of what this class, the class of 2006, could give back to their communities. For while these students have spent the past decade-and-a-half in the classroom honing their skills in writing, math, the arts, or sciences, it is now time for each to go forth and make a difference with his or her degree.
As these graduates become established and successful in their careers, success will not be truly attained until they have imparted their wisdom upon the next group of scholars to follow. When they have given back to their communities and shared their knowledge with future students, they will realize that scholars never really stop being students. Rather, they may learn their greatest lessons from those they have helped along the way.
This conclusion was reached by David McCullough as well as new graduate Debra-lee Sawyer as they shared so much of themselves with us on a glorious day, just a few weeks ago.
Richard R. Rush