Greetings from the Graduating Class
Stephen Barber '12, Residential Graduate
"You need to look back, not at just the people who run behind you but especially those who don't run and never will…those who run but don't race…those who started training for a race but didn't carry through…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You're still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you've outlasted."
- Joe Henderson
President Eastman, honored Trustees, Dr. Earl, distinguished Faculty and Staff, students, friends, family and the class of 2012.
As an Eckerd student I quickly came to realize not only the value of a liberal arts education, but an Eckerd education. I found a vigorous learning environment in and outside the classroom and became a member of an energetic and innovative community that inspires ingenuity, values character, and creates an environment for academic success and exploration. It is this community, our community that has invited us to question our place in the world, challenged us to grow intellectually, and has produced a class of bold imaginative thinkers, willing and eager to think outside, physically and metaphorically. Take time to reflect on this experience - your Eckerd experience. Let it be your guide to fuel your dreams and challenge you to continue to learn.
I opened quoting Joe Henderson, with a saying given to me before I competed in my first marathon as a source of inspiration. Today, we have all run a marathon of sorts - an academic race - where distance and pace did not matter, and time and place were irrelevant. We started at different times, ran at varied speeds, and took different routes to the finish line. Congratulations on finishing the race.
Remember where you've come from, the path you've been on, where you've traveled, the experiences you've had, the friends you made along the way. Know that they will continue to help you along your journey, wherever the path may lead you.
The path forward may be undefined and the directions may not be known but there is a destination ahead for each of us. All we can do is reflect on our past, learn from our mistakes, and use these experiences, our Eckerd experiences, for motivation to move forward, to continue the race, to continue to learn and to serve. Be confident and adventurous. Ask the questions, search for the answers. Pursue your passions - for your journey is only beginning.
Thank you, good luck, and congratulations to the class of 2012)!