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Eckerd College Commencement
Speeches and Remarks

Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III

Welcome, Eckerd College students. Welcome, parents, families, friends, Members of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees, faculty and staff:

Welcome to this 44th Commencement ceremony at Eckerd College.

This ceremony is called a "commencement" because it celebrates not what will end here, but what is to begin here.

This ceremony not only honors each graduating senior, but the Class of 2007 at Eckerd College, a community of extraordinary men and women. It honors what they have accomplished, and what they will accomplish in the years ahead.

I want to thank the Board of Trustees for all they have done to build this outstanding college in the liberal arts tradition and for their unstinting, unswerving support.

Will the trustees who have joined us today please stand and be recognized?

I also want to express my gratitude to other distinguished members of the platform party for their participation in today's ceremony.

Thank you to our Commencement speaker, Peter J. Meinke, and honorary degree recipient, Harvey E. Jeffries; Chairman Collier; my colleagues: Dean of Faculty Lloyd Chapin, Dean of Special Programs Jim Deegan, Dean of Students Jim Annarelli and our Chaplain & Director of Religious Life, Mona Bagasao.

Now, let me ask the distinguished and dedicated men and women of the Eckerd College faculty, who are the embodiment of Eckerd College - to stand as we thank you for the labor that makes this day possible:

Thank you.

Nor would this day be possible without the support, emotional and spiritual and financial, of the families of those who graduate today - mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, husbands and wives and children: Please stand so we may recognize and applaud your love and support:

Thank you.

And let me also recognize someone many of you have gotten to know, often in the company of the two small black dogs she walks on campus, my wife and principal advisor: Christine Eastman. She extends to each and every one of you today, her congratulations and best wishes.

Eckerd College Class of 2007:

You students who graduate today have taught in township schools in Cape Town, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and the French Alps, carried out service projects in Nicaragua and Burma and dozens of other countries, carried out thousands of rescues at sea through ECSAR, won Fulbright fellowships to Malaysia and South Africa; won more Hollings Scholarships than any college or university in the nation. We are very proud of each of you.

You will soon begin careers in an ever-changing world - a world in desperate need of your talent and knowledge and energy.

You leave here today to make the world a better place. You are going to conduct research from Tampa to Costa Rica to Antarctica; going to work on social and political and environmental challenges; going to law school and medical school and theology school; you will become engineers, teachers, technicians, oceanographers, counselors, artists and scientists, attending superb graduate schools all over the United States in dozens of disciplines; and you will take leadership positions in your jobs and in your communities.

At the end of this ceremony, you will march off to show the world that Eckerd College changes lives, and Eckerd College graduates change the world: Please stand so we can recognize your achievement and your promise:

Thank you.

It has been a great year at Eckerd College, full of learning planned and unplanned, and this graduating class of 2007 is an extraordinary group of men and women eager to make the world a better place for all of humankind.

You are, as Dylan Thomas should have said, the boys and girls of summer, and autumn beckons. Therefore I say hail and farewell, the old Roman salute, to you now. Hail to all the imagination and heart you bring to create the future; farewell to your life here as students who have felt, I hope, not only well tutored, but well loved.

We will miss you.

Eckerd College
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