Thank you President Córdova, faculty, staff, family, friends, and most importantly, fellow graduates.
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.
Purdue University has given us the opportunity to discover who we are academically, socially, and physically. I’m not afraid to admit that there is a lot about myself that I am still trying to figure out. How in the world did we survive those all-nighters that resulted from procrastinating and not studying for those exams that we knew about weeks in advance? I’m still in awe of how some of us could not wake up for our 8:30 classes, but we could wake up at 5AM, dress in creative costumes, walk down the road, and not remember what we were wearing by noon. How did we come up with all those innovative methods to go sledding down Slayter Hill in the winter – everything from using a tray from the dining courts to laundry baskets to air mattresses. Most of all, I’m still trying to figure out how my bladder was able to stretch to hold 32 ounces, let alone 44 ounces, of Den Pop through all those power hours. No matter how unsure I am about how we got to where we are, I wouldn’t change my Purdue experiences for the world.
We may not feel ready to leave college, but as Boilermakers, we are taught to survive the impossible. We have been prepared for the world of criticism and challenges, and we don’t give up. When we leave here, we are indeed tenacious. We will walk out of Elliott Hall today having completed one of the finest educations available at any university in the world. Receiving a Purdue degree is an accomplishment. We will be joining the thousands of alumni around the globe to make this world a better place.
Our future success is limitless. As each and every one of us leaves this University, we are challenged to follow a simple rule; don’t be someone you are not. Mark Twain once said, “twenty years from now, you will regret the things you did not do rather than the things you did.” Don’t lose track of your goals in life no matter where they take you. At Purdue University, we have proven countless times that we can get through the toughest of situations. My point: don’t let anyone get in the way of what makes you smile. You only live once. Don’t live your life unhappy.
They say when you leave a place, it’s not about what you take with you, but what you leave behind. The people we have met and the paths that you have crossed are significant, whether you realize it or not. You have changed a person’s life, and you will continue changing people’s lives. Doing something you think is small may mean the world to someone else. Don’t forget to thank those who have helped you become the person you are today.
Thank you mom and dad, for supporting me throughout the years and investing in me to receive that hard earned piece of paper called a diploma. Happy Mother’s Day to each and every mother in the room. Thank you for sharing your day with us graduates.
Fellow graduates, this is only the beginning of the rest of our lives. So if you’re terrified right now because you don’t know what tomorrow brings, don’t worry. I’m right there with you. We’ll figure it out because that is what Boilermakers do. Congratulations class of 2012 and Hail Purdue!