Valedictory Speakers

Chong, Han Nee

Thank you, Dean Varner.

President Wright, Members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Students, Families, and Guests. Aloha and thank you for being here to celebrate with us this evening.

Coming to Hawaii Pacific University was a dream come true for me, and graduating tonight is indeed one of my proudest achievements to date. A little over three years ago, I was working a 9-5 job in a bank, and while it pays the bills, I knew it wasn’t something I’d wanted to do for the rest of my life. Yet, with little money in the bank account, giving up a stable job to go to HPU, sounded like an impossible dream.

Talking to people around me, I encountered untold numbers of people who were living “lives of quiet desperation” as I had, existing every day as the day before, without the drive to shift gears.

“To live,” said Oscar Wilde “is the hardest thing to do. Most people simply exist.” I decided then, it was time for me to live my life and to take that first step towards charting my own destiny. Often time, we are unwilling to try something new because we are afraid of the outcome. Graduate school has taught us that the more you push the edges of your comfort zone, the easier it gets. The first semester in graduate school was the hardest for many of us. But, as we continue to push ourselves to learn and persevere, each achievement builds confidence and creates momentum. Self-confidence, in turn, enhances performance and we grow exponentially as scholars.

As we stand here today, celebrating our graduation from respective degrees, take a moment to reflect on some incredible people in our life, without whom, we would not be here today. To the great professors and staff of HPU, we owe you so many thanks. Your guidance, help, wisdom and encouragement kept us on the right track to succeed and to do well.

To all my family, friends and mentors, thank you for your love and for believing in me. To my Mom and Dad, visiting from Malaysia, words alone cannot express my gratitude for all that you’ve sacrificed to make this a dream come true for me. All I can say is, “Xie xie ni de ai.” (Thank you for your love)

To my significant other, Joel Jr., who is also graduating this evening with a MA in Communication, I am blessed to have met you at HPU and to have you in my life. You have supported me, believed in me, and captured my heart. Tonight I publicly thank you for everything you have done for me over these two years.

An old Chinese proverb says happiness depends on something to work on, something to hope for, and someone to love. At HPU, I have found all three. As we celebrate our graduation tonight, I wish each and every one of us continued success and happiness as we journey on.

Congratulations and enjoy this special day!