Douglas Roy Bolin, Jr. '06
Good Morning, my fellow graduates, President Eastman, Honored Trustees, Esteemed Speaker, Professors, Eckerd College Staff, Alumni, family and friends. My name is Douglas Bolin, and today I am a graduate of Eckerd College's Program for Experienced Learners with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business.
It is my distinct pleasure and honor to welcome you to the 43rd Commencement of Eckerd College.
Education is always a privilege, but it is not always easy. What I will remember most about my time at Eckerd are the many discussions in all the classes, where students from different backgrounds brought their views based on their experiences to the table. Sometimes these exchanges were heated, sometimes the views were poles apart from mine, but they were never without value. Don't get me wrong, their value did go down exponentially around 10:00pm on a Monday night. Those late nights could be an eternity.
Eckerd College has given us all one of the most valuable tools to make this world a better place, critical thinking. Think back to those discussions in all those classes. Listening to everyone's perspective on a topic, thinking more about the topic, comparing your views to theirs, talking some more, and believe it or not, changing our views. That's critical thinking. What a tool! Manuel Castell, Professor of Sociology at the University of California , Berkeley , said "Critical thinking is not ideology, or a predictable litany of unwarranted radical statements. It is first of all about intellectual rigor and cultural creativity. It is an essential antidote to control the powers that be, to bring up the public interest above the private greed, and to preserve the ideal of humanity against the sad historical record of humankind".
We need more individuals who will not accept everything that is flashed before them on television or positioned and crafted in just the right way in the newspaper. Our society, in fact the entire world, needs individuals who question and evaluate the vast array of information that is bombarding us today.
Looking at this graduating class before me, I see a group of individuals ready to take on the world and make it a better place.
How will we accomplish this? Robert Kennedy, answered that question in a speech he delivered in apartheid dominated South Africa in 1966 when he said, "Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation."
Tomorrow is the first day in that journey. Take the tools that you have learned and forge a better future. Today, reflect and enjoy the fruits of your hard work and perseverance. Thank those who have been your support, and make sure to take a moment and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
Congratulations! You've earned it! Thank you.