Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III
Men and women of Eckerd College, the end is near.
On August 11, 2006, I handed you who were freshmen Eckerd College 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.
As you march off today to lives of imagination, exploration and service, remember all of those who have helped you get to this great day: your parents, spouses, lovers and loved ones, mentors and teachers, all your family of Eckerd faculty and staff and fellow students.
Remember also those who go with you only in spirit.
Last fall in our service to remember your fallen classmate, Holt Weeks, you and your classmates chose for anthem and motif Bob Dylan’s immortal song "Forever Young": May that song also provide the dedicatory hymn for the lives of committed service and rigorous pursuit of truth that you go now to lead:
"May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young...
May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young..."
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.