Beronius, Anna Sofia
President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, fellow graduates, families, friends and honored guests, thank you. I am very honored to have been selected as the valedictory speaker of the undergraduate class.
First of all, I would like to congratulate my fellow students on your outstanding academic achievement. I know that you have all worked hard to earn your place here this evening. I know that I have. However, I feel that the greatest importance lies not within our academic achievement, but in the fact that we have all become aware world citizens.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: "The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers." At HPU I think that I have learned to be a good neighbor.
As the human population grows, and communication technology is expanded, the world is getting smaller. Every day we interact across the borders of other countries and cultures. Ethnocentrism and intolerance are thus becoming our greatest obstacles, and conflicts that seem impossible to resolve become international issues, threatening all of us equally. HPU has provided us, as students, with a neutral setting, and a wonderful opportunity, to get to know, and learn to understand, other cultures. Never doubt that we have been well prepared for a life out in the world, not just academically, but also on a more fundamental level by interacting with our classmates every day. If you have embraced this opportunity, I think that this is the most important achievement.
I admit that while struggling day and night over fascinating subjects, such as the structures and properties of all 20 common amino acids, I have sometimes been looking forward to this day as the light at the end of the tunnel. However, these years have not left me with a sense that I know enough, but rather with a desire to learn and understand more. I hope that all of you graduates feel the same way.
On behalf of the undergraduate class, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to HPU, all of our friends, and especially our families for their caring and support.
Again, thank you for the honor of speaking here tonight! Mahalo Nui Loa!