New graduates urged to make their own mark
Purdue President France A. Córdova speaks to graduates on Sunday (Dec. 20) during a commencement ceremony at Elliott Hall of Music. (Purdue University photo/Andrew Hancock)
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University President France A. Córdova on Sunday (Dec. 20) urged new graduates to aim high and make a difference in the world using the skills they've acquired during their time at Purdue.
Córdova addressed candidates during two commencement ceremonies in the Elliott Hall of Music, where she awarded a total of 1,318 bachelor's degrees, 166 master's degrees, 150 doctoral degrees and two doctor of pharmacy degrees.
She spoke of the legacy of Purdue alumni and the impact Boilermakers have on the world and encouraged graduates to use their Purdue experience to help them make their own marks.
"In three short years, two faculty members were awarded the World Food Prize - Phil Nelson in 2007, and Gebisa Ejeta in 2009," she said. "These Purdue Boilermakers have made a difference … just as others have before them.
"Purdue alumni landed the Eagle on the moon and an Airbus on the Hudson River. We are proud to call Neil Armstrong and Captain "Sully" Sullenberger Boilermakers.
"Boilermakers oversaw construction of the largest cement formation the world has ever seen – the Hoover Dam – and invented a cable network to provide live, constant coverage of government proceedings: C-SPAN."
Once upon a time, these explorers and innovators were attending their own graduation at the same venue, Córdova said.
"The solid foundation given them here - the fundamentals of math, rhetoric, writing, analysis and communication - are the same tools we have given you," she said.
A sea of graduates take part in Sunday's (Dec. 20) commencement ceremony at the Elliott Hall of Music. (Purdue News Service photo/Andrew Hancock)
Córdova encouraged the new graduates to have lofty goals.
"After all, a Purdue education launched 22 alumni into space," she said. "There's no telling how far you can go from here."
Córdova began her speech on a lighter note, noting the pervasive nature of social media in students' lives and how, through their Purdue experiences, they have been proceeding all along toward commencement day.
"You've spent many long hours attending class – and a few watching YouTube; you've written slightly more text messages than term papers, but they're shorter, aren't they?" she said. "You've learned a lot from your professors - and your favorite reference, Wikipedia. Math? Not a problem with Wolfram Alpha! You've been so busy doing homework - thank goodness for Facebook, or you'd never have time to keep up with everything going on in your friends' lives!"
The president urged students to cherish the small memories of campus life as they prepare to set out into the world.
"Take some photos with your IPhone or cell phone, stand for a last time as a student under the Bell Tower, greet someone on Hello Walk, have a milkshake at Pappy's, text your favorite professor and say, 'Thank you' and, 'See you,'" Córdova said. "These are some of the memories we hope you will carry with you.
"Your Purdue experience has made it possible for you to aim higher, achieve more, and - of interest to many - earn more. We can't wait to see what you will accomplish. Just wear your old gold and black, and when you meet another Boilermaker, say: Go Boilermakers! Hail Purdue!"
Writer: Soumitro Sen, 765-496-9711, firstname.lastname@example.org
Full text to President Córdova's speech