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Eckerd College Commencement
Speeches and Remarks

Greetings from the Graduating Class
Violet Smith '08, Residential Graduate

Good morning, and welcome friends, families, professors, and Eckerd College community.  Today we meet to celebrate our passage from the sheltered harbor of college life into the larger waters of the world community. It is my great pleasure to be the first to wish the class of 2008, sincere congratulations. There is no better way to express this sentiment than in the words of author and illustrator Theodor Geisel, best known by his pen name, "Dr. Seuss,"

"Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to great places!
You’re off and away!"

In his lighthearted, yet curiously sophisticated book, "Oh, the Places You’ll Go!," Dr. Seuss tells a tale of the true struggles we will inevitably face in adult life. He highlights that small decisions, routine events, will test our integrity on a daily basis, but that we are sufficiently prepared to meet these challenges. It will not always be our day- sometimes we will fail; we will face lulls and hardships.

"I’m sorry to say so
but, sadly, it’s true
that Bang-ups
and Hang-ups
can happen to you."

…Bang-ups and Hang-ups that our Eckerd College experience has equipped us to better cope with. We are armed with education and the values of Eckerd College, our values: residential, global, spiritual, environmental, and personal. These principles have shaped who we are and will guide us through the trials and tribulations we will undoubtedly face in the coming weeks, months, and years. These ordeals will be out of our control at times. However, it is how we respond in the face of adversity that shows true character.

The importance of education is unparalleled by many things in this life, but when paired with the tools of honesty, integrity, and truth, education is the greatest gift, the highest achievement. Having the opportunity to study at an institution that has helped us to develop our own thoughts and values has prepared us to face life with a strong sense of self. We step forward today with a sturdy foundation of values fostered by friends, family, and Eckerd College.
 
So, go onward knowing that you, class of 2008,

"[…] have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go."

We will move mountains.

"So…
Be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
you’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So… get on your way!"

Eckerd College
4200 54th Avenue South . St. Petersburg, Florida 33711
(800) 456-9009 or (727) 867-1166 | Email | Phone Directory

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