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Purdue president to graduates: Look back with pride, ahead with passion

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue President France A. Córdova on Friday (May 11) encouraged graduates to reflect on their many accomplishments and the fun they had in making a difference - and to eagerly look ahead.

She will do the same.

Córdova is presiding this weekend over her fifth and final spring commencement ceremonies, and when they are complete, she will have welcomed more than 33,000 graduates over a half decade into the family of Purdue alumni. She is transitioning in July from her position as president.

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Student Responses

Keith S. Hansen
Division I

On behalf of the great class of 2012 -- the finest scholars of education and the greatest intellectuals of engineering -- let me express my deepest gratitude for the privilege of addressing this class. Tonight we gather to celebrate the greatness of our accomplishments at Purdue – not the closing of a chapter, or the end of our education. Our pride is based on the hard work that brought us to this day, on the knowledge that we are ready for the next step, and for the excitement of what lies ahead.

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Ellen Zouras
Division II

Good morning distinguished guests, faculty, administrators, family and friends, and the class of 2012. It’s a great honor to speak to you today on behalf of my fellow graduates. The first time I was called to these seats was for Boiler Gold Rush, the orientation program most of us participated in four years ago. One of my first college memories is something that President Córdova told us. She said, “WHATEVER you do during this next week and your time here at Purdue, do NOT change yourself.

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Adrianne Huber
Division III

You know, research shows that people remember only a small amount of a speech they hear... so... I can stand up here and say whatever I want, right? Chances are you won't remember it anyways. But... I won't actually do that because I have something worth saying – even if you only remember one sentence that I say.

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Katharine Helen Bartlett
Division IV

Good morning graduates and once again, congratulations. Also, thank you to our guests for coming to Purdue to share this special day with us. My family including my 97 year old grandmother is here today all the way from Central FL. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers and grandmothers here! I am excited and honored to be speaking for an entire group of graduate students. In the past, graduate students participated in the commencement ceremonies along with undergraduates and there were issues related to how long it took to hood the PhD candidates. I was sure there would be no grumbling about the length of the program this morning.

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Elise Leung
Division V

No two of us in this room had the same Purdue experience, and yet we did. We each have had some of our best times and some of our worst in these halls and on these grounds. The day I came to Purdue, I was greeted with neon colored shirts and a group of over-caffeinated college students with megaphones shouting “the futon song.” It was one of the scariest, yet most exciting, moments of my life. Today, I stand before you with the same feeling – excited for what is to come, but terrified of the unknown.

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