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Eckerd College Commencement
Greetings From the Graduating Class

Ronald Porter '05

The Magic in the Moment

Families, friends, mentors,
Spirits on high,
Eckerd College class of 2005,
Welcome to our moment,
To the realization of dreams,
To the manifestation of four years of struggle and joy.
Welcome to the prelude to our futures.

This is a space deserving of palms and harps.
For there is magic in this moment,
A cause for the most dignified of celebrations.
Here, our class,
A concoction of histories and experiences,
Met and shared a brief sojourn.
We shared our experiences, hopes, and desires,
Stood on the shoulders of the dead to partake in learning,
Packed our suitcases and fled the confines of America
To become global citizens.
We gave words of encouragement,
And shoulders to cry on
Yes! The world,
Yet to be fully touched by the ripples of our experience,
Heaves in anticipation.
For we accomplished what seems to be
The most difficult of human endeavors:
Within the walls of this institution
We became a family.

Now, we stand upon the mountaintop
Gazing in anticipated awe,
And blinded by the sunlight of tomorrow.
Looking back upon the path of our journey
We give nothing but solid gratitude,
Gratitude
To those who believed in our dreams
And pushed us to make them see the light of this day.

Yet, in this celebratory moment
We mustn't forget the challenge of our age,
For we are the children of our ancestors' dreams.
Born of fire
We march hand-in-hand out of a century of flames,
March from the settling dust
Of empires and towers
Into unknown histories.

It is we, the learned ones
Who are charged with the duty
Of dedicating our minds to the joy of the masses.
It is we who must shatter
The tyrannies of oppression that cross and re-cross the mind.
It is we who carry the burden of constructing brighter futures.
This is the task laid before us at this hour.
And as you walk from this moment,
Stepping into the luminosity of the unknown,
Remember to be conscious of the perils facing our human family,
Remember that you are the promise of the race,
The human race.
Remember the power that lies in dreams,
And walk with the words of Langston Hughes
Forever crystallized at the forefront of your minds:
Yes, "All you who are dreamers, too,
Help me make our world anew,
I reach out my hand to you."

Peace and Blessings

Ronald Porter of Randallstown, Maryland, will give the welcoming remarks on behalf of the Residential Program graduates. The recipient of the Philip J. Lee Honor Award, he is a political science major and international relations/global affairs minor with a 3.98 GPA.

Ronald's international experiences include a semester in our London Program, a service learning project in Venezuela, and a summer program which took him to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam last summer (2004). He applied for and received a Freeman Foundation Grant in Asian Studies to fund this summer program, which allowed him to visit urban and rural areas, gather research data for his Ford Scholars Project on the trafficking of women and children as well as on HIV/AIDS, participate in teaching children at local orphanages, and explore the social conditions and cultural traditions found in these countries. Ronald was a finalist for the Rhodes Scholarship this year, only the second time ever that a Florida Presbyterian/Eckerd College student has been invited to the regional finals for the Rhodes.

Ronald is a Bill and Melinda Gates Millennium Scholarship Recipient (4-year scholarship to Eckerd); 2004 Rhodes Scholarship Regional Finalist; 2004 Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Leadership Honor Society; Who's Who Among American Colleges and Universities 2005; and recipient of multiple honors and Dean's List achievements.

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