Miles C. Collier, Chairman of the Eckerd College Board of Trustees
President Eastman; Dean Harrison; Dean Annarelli; Mr. McKibben; Mr. Lasseter; distinguished faculty, families, and guests, and Graduates of the Class of 2013: Yesterday afternoon, on the recommendation of the faculty, the Board of Trustees granted the awarding of 539 bachelor's degrees to individuals who have earned their place in the Eckerd College community of scholars.
No other action that is required of the Board of Trustees brings as much pleasure and reward as the granting of degrees each May.
Graduates, I marvel at the ease with which you use tools of technology to create and publicize the brand that is uniquely you. Facebook, myspace, pinterest, twitter, instagram, skype, youtube, "etcetera." I can only guess at the number of photos that have been posted just this morning and at the number of family members and friends who are home today enjoying this ceremony with you through video live streaming. All of these images together define who you are and what is important to you.
The selection of today's honorary degree recipients also reflects what we value at Eckerd College.
Nominated by students, Commencement speaker Bill McKibben resonates with your optimism that significant change can be achieved through peaceful activism. As President Eastman reminds us, "Eckerd College changes lives, and Eckerd graduates change the world."
Toy Story. A Bug's Life. Monsters, Inc. Finding Nemo. Cars. Up. You have grown up with ease stepping in and out of an animated world with heroes that have subtly influenced you and shaped your sense of right and wrong. John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, is an exemplary role model who demonstrates what can be unleashed when technology is harnessed to a creative imagination.
Graduates, these past four years or so your mentors have worked side-by-side with you as you sharpened the focus on your identities. How you continue to define yourselves when you leave today is up to you. The faculty of Eckerd College and the members of the Board of Trustees who have granted you your degrees hope that you will continue to lead lives reflecting the promise that we see here today, lives that will make a difference in the world, lives that will make you, your families and your alma mater proud.
Best wishes and congratulations, graduates of the Class of 2013!