afternoon President Todd, distinguished guests, esteemed
faculty, family, friends, and graduates of the class of
2003, it is a great pleasure and a special honor for me to
be speaking with you today. What we have achieved today is
unique – it’s an experience the vast majority of any
given generation has neither the will nor the opportunity to
enjoy. Rightly we should revel in our accomplishment!
On behalf of the senior class, I would like to thank
you for joining us as we celebrate this turning point in our
graduates of the University of Kentucky, we have attained a
quality education along with a rich history of excellence
that our school so boldly attained.
These successes could never have been brought to
fruition without having quality individuals driven by high
expectations toward common goals. This, of course, is reflective of the quality professors and
administrators here at the University of Kentucky. Quality professors that have instilled in us direction,
structure, and knowledge of skill needed to excel under the
pressure of trying circumstances.
In addition, I would be amiss if I did not thank each
and every family member for their endless sacrifice and
senior class greatly appreciates everyone who has help make
this day possible.
we leave here we will set out on various roads of life.
Some of us will improve upon the ones already built,
while others will build new ones.
In preparation, we must always be sure to carry with
us lesson we have learned here that will help us overcome
adversities and insure continuing success.
From late nights in our W. T. Young library, lunch at
K-Lair, springtime at Keeneland, and cheering at a
basketball game we have built lasting memories we will
always carry with us.
one of us is proof of one of the valuable lessons learned
that people who accomplish their goals rarely sit back and
let things happen to them.
They go out and happen to things…and they achieve.
We can only achieve by seeking change and
improvement. This improvement we seek comes from the inside, with use of
our integrity to basic principals.
Have you ever wondered what our society would be like
if there were no great leaders?
If there were no Rudy Giulianis, Oprah Winfreys, Sam
Waltons or Bill Gates? Do you think their journey to the top was easy?
Never be content with average.
Average is as close to the bottom as it is to the
top. If you
strive for the top you are much more likely to one day be at
the very top. Is
not the goal of life to achieve? One
cannot achieve without striving and being prepared.
We have developed our tool bags over the last years
and it is time to take our different journeys and seek a
path. What we
do with our lives will determine the kind of world we will
leave for future generations.
know it is traditional for the commencement speaker to give
advice, though I do not believe you need to hear advice.
As graduates from the University of Kentucky we have
already accepted it, lived it, and made it our lives. We
would not be if we had not totally committed ourselves to
what this great institution represents. Which ever path you
decide to choose after leaving this place that has nurtured
and tortured and frustrated and urged you on, be it in the
arts, sciences, communications, mathematics, or teaching, we
must realize we are equipped with the
tools to be situated in our fields.
Whichever field you have chosen keep in mind we have
the means to change the future of ideas.
Yes, this task bears a risk, this notion of making a
difference, but I think we agree, life is about taking
risks. We have taken them already, by choosing the
University of Kentucky, choosing a path and navigating it
successfully to this grand day, and now the risks begin to
all are celebrating this glorious day but must keep in mind
to be this assured when adversities present themselves.
Adversities are always presenting themselves.
For example, basketball superstar Michael Jordan was
cut from his high-school basketball team but now; he is one
of the most well known athletes in the world.
Also, Dr. Seuss’s first children’s book I Saw It on Mulberry Street, was rejected by 27 publishers.
The 28th publisher, Vanguard Press, sold 6
million copies of the book.
All of these people met defeat and challenged it by
pursuing their goals with their determination.
Just think, if they had given up there would be no
Air Jordan’s or Cat in the Hat.
Keller once said, “The marvelous richness of human
experience would lose something of rewarding joy if there
were no limitations to overcome.
The hilltop hour would not be half so wonderful if
there were no dark valleys to traverse.”
As each of us chooses our varied paths in life, I
challenge you to prepare for life’s valleys with a most
effective roadmap, the four goals of Life:
to live, to learn, to love, and to leave a legacy.
I ask you to keep the words of R.L. Sharpe with you as you
travel life’s journey.
His poem is titled “A Bag of Tools.”
That princes and Kings,
And clowns that caper
In sawdust rings,
And common people
Like you and me
Are builders for eternity?
Each is given a bag of tools
A shapeless mass,
A book of rules;
And each must fashion -
Ere life has flown -
A stumbling block
Or a stepping-stone.
your day, graduates. You
have a wonderful bag of tools, carry them with you and use
them wisely. Congratulations!