Valedictory Speakers

Atnip, DesaRae

A warm Aloha and welcome to President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, students, families, and guests:

Announcing her presidential candidacy in 1964, Margaret Chase Smith said: "When people keep telling you that you can’t do a thing, you kind of like to try it."

In high school I wanted to join the military, but people laughed. Not only was I a scrawny girl, I had no "Military Bearing." I joined the Coast Guard and went to the Academy, but for a long time I believed those who told me I couldn’t do it. My first three semesters, I didn’t get above a 2.3. Every day was a struggle.

My mom said "you always have a choice, even if it is simply your attitude." I decided one day to CHOOSE to have a good attitude, and that has made all the difference.

I graduated in the top half of my class at the Academy. I did 4 years at sea on Coast Guard ships, completed an MBA at Keller Graduate School of Management and I stand here today with a 4.0 at HPU.

Remember that the difference between a dream and a goal is a plan. Make a decision to have a good attitude, create a plan and stick with it, even if you have a slow start or face adversity.

In addition to sheer persistence, many of us here tonight owe much of our accomplishments to our families and friends. While HPU was academically rigorous, I learned an enormous amount from the interactions with my peers. I would like to thank my friends from Norway, Germany, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Canada, California, New York and Hawaii for their contributions to my education. Many places strive to offer diversity, but HPU is one of the places that is truly successful at it.

As I continue my career in the Coast Guard, I will take a new understanding of what it means to be a world citizen.

I would also like to acknowledge my fiancé Jeff, and his children, Christy and Jimmy, for it has been said that one who is loved always has success.

I’d like to close with this tonight –if I had not struggled to get here, it wouldn’t be half as sweet.

Congratulations to the graduates!
Mahalo Nui Loa and Good Night!