It is my honor to address our graduates to be .... the Class of 2012.
Dear students, we are all here to celebrate your accomplishments and to send you off to an exciting new beginning. This is a time to celebrate and honor all that you have accomplished, but let's remember that all of this has been just a warm up. You are here to commence!
This is also our time as a university community to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to be here, in a place and among people devoted to learning... devoted to exploring ideas...devoted to developing talents and skills...devoted to getting the most out of our human potential.
We are all blessed by having the chance to learn from each other.
You have been here at UMass Dartmouth during a time of great instability and change across our nation and around the world.
You have seen the impacts of the Great Recession hit your communities and perhaps your own home.
You responded to the suffering caused by natural and man-made disasters: Haiti, the Gulf of Mexico, Japan.
You have seen the power of the social network excite a nation-changing Spring uprising and Facebook grow to 900 million users and $100 billion of value.
You have occupied public spaces, and in doing so have helped open hearts and minds.
Three quarters of you have contributed to the community as part of your classes and many of you have encouraged and cajoled us to engage in green practices -- including the construction of our new wind turbine.
You are seeing and feeling the world getting smaller by the day, and thus you are learning that you can have your own personal impact on it. You are also are discovering that you are personally affected by global change and need to be equipped to compete.
You will face you share of challenges, as every class before you has. We have confidence that you will use your talents, passions, and knowledge to confront and conquer those challenges.
Your education is a great gift -- but not just for you. It carries great responsibility to work toward a more peaceful, fair and sustainable planet.
Now, you all know that you did not get here on your own. Nobody ever does. So, let us take a moment to thank all those who have invested their energy, money, love and faith in you.
Would today's graduates please rise and join me in applauding:
Your parents....your families.......your friends....your mentors for their encouragement of YOUR educational adventure.
Now, may I ask our faculty and staff to stand.
Our faculty is the best! They are distinguished by a love of teaching with a passion for discovery and a desire to fully engage in the life of their community. They have been your partners in learning, and they have learned from you as well.
Our staff take care of all the details that make it possible for you to succeed. They feed you, house you, keep you safe.
Please join me in saluting the faculty and staff of UMass Dartmouth.
May I ask our state legislators and other public officials to rise, including Senator Marc Pacheco and Representative Paul Schmid.
Our state Constitution is unique in that the founders of the Commonwealth mandated that we shall "cherish'' education as a right of all people and as "necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties."
Please join me in thanking these public servants, who so ably and passionately advocate for you and this university during the good times and the bad.
A great university requires strong leadership at all levels and especially among the faculty and student ranks.
I now ask Faculty Senate President Grant O'Reilly, Student Trustee Peter Schock and Class of 2012 President Melissa Chapelle to stand and be recognized.
Class of 2012, so many people have done so much to make today possible. Please, always remember the contribution of others to your success... always appreciate it... and when you have the opportunity...return the favor to someone else.