Congratulations to the winter-term graduates! You've worked hard to get to this point, and it will be good to celebrate your success tomorrow in the Kern Center. I have the opportunity to serve as the Master of Ceremonies, which means I get to read off your name as you cross the stage. I also get to deliver some closing remarks as a way of giving completion to the ceremony. In the closing remarks, I quote some lines of poetry by Jack Gilbert:
We think of lifetimes as mostly the exceptional
And sorrows. Marriage we remember as the children,
Vacations, and emergencies. The uncommon parts.
But the best is often when nothing is happening.
Why these lines? Because this, the end of your tenure at MSOE, this ceremony, will not represent the experiences you’ve had as a student. When you went to class, you weren’t dressed up as you are at graduation. Your family and friends were not here to witness the last 4, or 5, years of your life. Instead, you experienced MSOE with your friends, your faculty, the staff members that helped you through the process. It was the study groups, the time spent in labs, the student activities that provided who knows how many gallons of coffee you’ve drunk and how many pounds of pizza you’ve consumed in the last 4 years.
These were the best parts--when nothing was happening--when you had the opportunity to discover who you are and who you have become. That, I believe, is something worth celebrating: the person you have become. For this I congratulate you.