Thank you for this honor and let me say it was a pleasure to
help build this campus.
Its early success is a tribute to these graduating students and
the faculty. Let me congratulate the faculty first. We had just 55
ladder rank faculty on opening day, and they had to accomplish
Herculean tasks—configure the curriculum, outline the majors,
prepare all the courses and be ready to offer a full course of
study on Day 1. They did this with good humor and much more. They
invited students into their labs and offices to do research,
produced award winning research, won millions in federal grants,
took home national awards in their fields, and embarked on
international competitions with the students. Heartfelt thanks to
all the faculty.
Now, the students. On move in day we could already see the
attributes these students had that would signal success.
One student bought a surf board! We all took pictures with it
and laughed about his optimism. You have been optimistic from day 1.
One student arrived on crutches with a huge brace on her knee.
As luck would have it her suite was on the second floor. We offered
all kinds of accommodations. She said no, I’ve got it under
control. Will and Persistence. These have been keys to your success
A sense of humor. During the first week, standing on the library
steps, a student was heard talking on his cell phone, in that
special tone that signifies exasperation and love, “Mom,” he said,
“you don’t have to worry about me, the only thing up here is cows.”
On the first day of class, we all dodged chicken wire barricades
trying to make it to class. You all clamored around them easily and
without becoming flustered while we administrators griped and
moaned. You haven’t let the little negatives of life alter your
focus. That’s a wonderful attribute because there are always little
negatives, forms to fill out, rules to follow, bureaucracies to
satisfy. You kept your focus on the positive.
Combine optimism, will and persistence, a sense of humor, and
letting go of little negatives with your heady intelligence and
planning skills and you can accomplish anything. We are all
indebted to you for your latest magic trick, bringing Michelle
Obama to our campus. But this is just an index that you can
continue to accomplish magical feats throughout your life. We all
look forward to it.
Thank you very much.