Eckerd College Commencement
Speeches and Remarks

Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III

Dr. Donald R. Eastman, IIIEckerd College students, parents, families, friends, members of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees, faculty and staff: Welcome to the 47th Commencement exercises at Eckerd College.

This ceremony is called a "commencement." We celebrate not only what will end today, but what is to begin today.

At this ceremony we honor not only each graduating senior, but also the Class of 2010 at Eckerd College, a community of extraordinary men and women. We honor what they have accomplished, and what they will accomplish in the years ahead.

This commencement ceremony, like everything else at Eckerd College, is arranged to be one more educational event in your undergraduate experience. Today, the College will again display its values by what it honors and whom it honors.

So Commencement is not simply about picking up a diploma – though it is surely about that! – but about telling the story anew about the institution from which the diploma has been earned.

Let us begin by thanking 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?

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

Thank you to our Commencement speaker, General David H. Petraeus, and honorary degree recipients, Martha Rudy Wallace and Carlos Barbas III; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Miles Collier of Naples; and my colleagues, Dean of Special Programs Jim Deegan, Dean of Students Jim Annarelli and our Director of Campus Ministries, Rev. Douglas McMahon, Jr.

I want to offer a special thanks to our beloved Vice President and Dean of Faculty, Lloyd W. Chapin. Today marks his final Commencement at Eckerd College after 31 years of dedicated and loyal service to us all. He will surely be missed.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our new Vice President and Dean of Faculty, Dr. Betty Stewart who will be joining Eckerd College officially on July 1, 2010. Betty is currently the Dean, College of Science and Mathematics and Professor of Chemistry at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.

Let me now 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.

It is a privilege for me to serve this faculty; and it is an honor for me to be a colleague to the great staff of Eckerd College, who do their work, every day, with grace and skill, and at a very high standard. Will my colleagues of the Eckerd College staff – groundskeepers, housekeepers, food service staff, student life, finance, admissions, advancement... all Eckerd College staff – please stand so these students and their family and friends can applaud your service and support of them?

This day would not be possible without the support - - emotional, spiritual and financial - - of the families of those who graduate today: grandparents, mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers, husbands and wives and children. Please stand so we may recognize and applaud your love and support.

Finally, let me introduce my wife, Christine: The College has no greater advocate and volunteer. She extends to each of you her congratulations and best wishes.

Eckerd College Class of 2010: You students who graduate today have not only excelled academically, you have been volunteer teachers in schools in St. Petersburg and in Cape Town; climbed the Alps; carried out service projects in mid-town and all over Tampa Bay, - and Nicaragua, Burma, Ethiopia – and dozens of other countries; carried out thousands of rescues at sea through ECSAR, won Fulbright fellowships and Hollings Scholarships – and so much more.

You will soon begin careers in a challenged world, a world in great need of your talent and knowledge and energy.

You leave here to conduct research all over the world; to address social, political and environmental challenges, to attend law school and medical school and theology school; you will become engineers, teachers, technicians, oceanographers, counselors, artists and scientists, attend superb graduate schools in dozens of disciplines; and 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.

Eckerd College
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