Office of the President
4200 54th Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33711
local: (727) 864-8211
toll-free: (800) 456-9009
fax: (727) 864-1877
Stephen A. Barber '12, ECOS President
Good evening friends, family, professors, distinguished members of the Eckerd community and members of the incoming class. As the President of the Eckerd College Organization of Students, it is my honor and great pleasure to welcome you into the Eckerd College community.
Tonight we are here to pass on a tradition and to rekindle a legacy. Each tiny flame that you ignite emits a radius of light -- let's call it knowledge, that intensifies as the candle begins to burn, and grows with time. It is this light that identifies you as a student, and it is the glow of your knowledge that will brighten and illumine the lives and minds of those around you.
Today marks the beginning of a new chapter, a new story. Following this evening, you have a blank canvas spread before you to create a new multidimensional masterpiece with character and complexity, or simplicity and spontaneity. Pick up a brush and paint. Be creative. Be bold. And most importantly have fun.
This is the time to strengthen your character and your foundation for the future. The opportunities for you to discover, learn, and explore are endless. Whether you discover the fundamentals of international law, ancient temples in Southeast Asia during a Winter Term trip abroad, the complexity of Mandarin Chinese, or that you can wake up at 9:16, brush your teeth, change clothes, make your bed, and still make it to your 9:30 am class on time…an impressive feat but I'm telling you its totally do-able, I encourage you to challenge what's comforting, and explore what's unknown, and to take some time to discover.
Right now, it is an exciting time to be an Eckerd student. We are in the midst of an unmistakable transformation -- academically and physically, as we grow as an institution, and develop as a college. I can't wait to see the impact you will have on our campus and I am thrilled that you all decided to make the choice, the right choice to continue a tradition and pass on the legacy as a student and a member of the Eckerd College community.
I encourage you not only to reflect back on the path that led you here today, but also look forward to all that you have yet to achieve. Recognize your potential as a scholar, an athlete, an artist, or a leader. Capitalize on your capabilities and strengthen your weaknesses. Seize every opportunity, get involved, go abroad, work hard, and enjoy the experience.
The next four years are going to fly by -- please trust me on this one -- so make the most of it. Do not let your future be limited by what you have already done, but defined by what you will accomplish. Create a new story, discover your passions, invest yourself in your interests, enjoy your journey and, in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson "do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
Today, as you ignite your light of knowledge and venture into the next chapter of your life, you become part of a powerful tradition. Today you become a part of a new community – this community, one that inspires ingenuity and values character. Today you begin your journey as an Eckerd College collegiate.
Good luck and welcome to Eckerd College.