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.