Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III
Men and women of Eckerd College, the end is near.
On August 16, 2004, I handed you medals commemorating the beginning of your college careers at the Ceremony of Lights, 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.
It has been a great year at Eckerd College, rich with learning planned and unplanned, and this graduating class of 2008 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.