Valedictory Speakers

Karacaoglu, Deniz

President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, teachers and faculty, graduates, friends and family, tonight, I am honored to be speaking to you on behalf of the graduate class of 2002.

This is a night of victory and celebration. Through years of hard work and a thousand sleepless nights, we have finally arrived at a milestone of our lifetimes. We have persevered and deserve the pride that comes with such an accomplishment. However, we did not do this on our own. It was through the love and support of our families, friends, and mentors that we are now able to enjoy the riches of this moment. For this, we say thank you.

Education serves as a beacon of hope to so many. Without it, we would be lost in the darkness, at the mercy of a world beyond our understanding. Education is the flame of knowledge illuminating our world, and our teachers are the candle bearers passing this flame to us. We are indebted to all of our mentors who have put their hearts into our growth and helped us along the difficult road of self-determination.

It feels wonderful to be part of the HPU family. Here, we have not only received a valuable education, but also a more universal cultural vision; a broad spectrum of ideas that represent the seeds of new opportunities. We have met a rich variety of individuals from all around the world and stretched our horizons beyond their previous boundaries. Through our experiences and education at HPU, we have become well-rounded world citizens, who have built a strong foundation for future growth.

Having a higher education now gives us higher goals to pursue. Often new goals appear as mirages in the desert, dancing on the horizon seductively, yet never allowing us to close the distance. At other times they may seem to be locked behind fortress walls, impervious to any assault we can muster. But fear not. The educator David Starr Jordan once said: "The world stands aside to let anyone pass who knows where he is going." By being here tonight we have proven that deserts can be crossed and fortress walls can be breached.

For the future, many new goals await to be conquered and many new challenges shall be overcome. But for tonight, my only wish is to smell the leis and share the joy of our accomplishment with my loved ones. I hope you all do the same.

Aloha.