Greetings from the Graduating Class
Linda Kay Rendleman '08, PEL Graduate
My fellow graduates, President Eastman, Honored Trustees, Esteemed Speaker, Professors, Eckerd College staff, family and friends, on behalf of PEL, the Program for Experienced Learners, I am honored to welcome you to the 2008 Eckerd College Commencement.
For all of my fellow graduates, as well as for me, today is the culmination of one of our many lifetime goals. Most PEL students have full-time jobs, have families, and have dreamed for years of returning to school to obtain a college degree. Our co-workers know us as the people who run out the door at 4:45 and drive like mad to make it to school by 5:30. Our husbands, wives, and partners know us as the person who crawls into bed at 3:00 in the morning mumbling something about passive voice and APA format, and we have come to know each other as peers, allies, comrades, and colleagues who together have braved the heart wrenching accounts of Viktor Frankl and survived to climb the mountains of Dr. Paul Farmer. Moreover, many of us have come to know each other as friends, and one of the greatest gifts this school has given us is the chance to find one another.
Eckerd has provided us with the opportunity to learn, not only in the traditional sense, but also through practice, travel, and service to our community. Today we will obtain our degree, but our ability to continue to learn and make a positive impact on this world does not stop as long as we continue to make it a priority. Our priorities determine our choices, and the choices we make dictate the life we lead. English philosopher Herbert Spencer once said, "The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action." Let today be a reminder that it is imperative for all of us to keep learning and giving back so others can see how powerful the impact of one personís choices can be.
Congratulations to all of the graduates. I wish you all the best in reaching your goals and continuing to turn your lifeís dreams into realities.