President's Farewell to the Class of 2005
Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III
Men and women of Eckerd College, the end is near. And though I wish you each and all every blessing, and while I am moved to echo Emerson's words to the young Walt Whitman, "I greet you at the beginning of a great career," I will miss you, individually and as a class. For I came in with you residential students, in the summer of 2001, a time that somehow seems more innocent - before 9/11, before terror was a household word, before America went to Afghanistan and Iraq, before body searches at the airport, before Homeland Security and before Charlie, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne came to visit in quick succession early last fall reminding us once more, as if we needed reminding, that luck and chance and fate play too large a role in every life.
While you will graduate, I will not - left behind to repeat the course, feeling a bit like Moses seeing, but not entering the promised land of milk and honey.
Class of 2005, I handed you your medal to begin your college career at the Ceremony of Lights on August 10, 2001, and today I handed you your diploma to end it. The first was a gift; the second was earned. Last night we sang at Baccalaureate the same words we have sung at Convocation each year: Grant us wisdom; grant us courage - for the facing of the hour; for the facing of the hour.
Residential and PEL graduates, fellow students who have arrived at this glorious day by so many various paths,
we hope that your years at Eckerd College have prepared you for a life of ceaseless change, ceaseless service, and moral courage - "for the facing of the hour." We will know by your work if we have succeeded.
I am grateful for your friendship and support, your patience with a fellow student, your warm embrace of me and Christine - and Emma, Anna and Beau.
Come back and visit. Stay connected. Join the annual fund. Learn the joys and responsibilities of alumniship. Remember the College. Remember who's your home boy.