Return to Program and Remarks
President, Eckerd College Organization of Students
September 2, 2009
Good Afternoon members of the Eckerd College Community, and Welcome Back. Whether you are joining us for the first time, or beginning the final chapters of your time here, we reconvene at Convocation each year to rejoin a diverse family, to redefine our aspirations and mission, and to reaffirm the academic flame that guides our quest.
Last year we celebrated the 50th anniversary of our college. It was a time to reflect on a vision that has been half a century in the making. It was the vision of the founding members of the college that Eckerd would be a place of community, innovation, profound knowledge, a place of limitless opportunities. After sacrificing so much for an idea, despite its uncertainty, the founders had faith that Eckerd would become a place where students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to build something great.
That faith, stemming from multiple perspectives, has remained at the foundation of Eckerd College today. Faith in that moment before the club lifts the ball from the Tee, that although the destination may be distant and out of sight, once you commit, put it in motion and follow through, that your drive will bring you that much closer to success. Faith, that by taking a step away from the mirror, and staring instead into the eyes of the suffering that you not settle with how the world is at that moment, but resolve to make it better. And finally, the faith shared between all members of this community that we unite on this quest to be perpetual students, that we fully immerse ourselves in a life of learning, exploration, and self discovery. Whether you are a professor, an athlete, a student, or a leader within this community, our faith in this institution and dedication to seeking answers to the great questions of our time, brings us together for a common purpose.
As I was preparing to speak to you today, I thought back to the first day of my Macroeconomics class. Professor Hammerschmidt asked each student what he/she believed to be their scarcest resource. Replies varied, but his answer had a profound effect on me. "Time. Time is our scarcest resource." As we begin a new school year, I urge you to really think about why you are here. Think about your role in this community, and what brings you back each year.
All too often, we go through the motions. We wake up, go to class, take exams, go to practice, and hit repeat. As we begin this new year, I encourage you to seek meaning beyond the motions. Do not let your time here be complacent or mundane. Recognize that you are here because you chose to be here. You came to Eckerd College, not out of a sense of obligation, but out of hunger and curiosity.
A few weeks ago, I gave the incoming Freshman the following advice: Don't let life happen to you. Bradley Whitford put it best, "You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life. Action is the antidote to apathy and cynicism and despair. You will inevitably make mistakes. Learn what you can and move on. At the end of you days, you will be judged by your gallop, not by your stumble."
I wish you all the best of luck this year, and challenge you to continue to question, to have faith, and to make the best of your time here.