Valedictory Speakers

Buettner, Kathrin

Aloha, good evening and welcome.

President Wright, members of the board of trustees, distinguished faculty, HPU staff, fellow graduates, family and friends.

We have all gathered here tonight in order to celebrate success. Each graduating student has successfully mastered all tasks along the way through college, has overcome countless hurdles, passed difficult classes, and eventually fulfilled all degree requirements. Now, a long awaited goal has been finally accomplished. We will be awarded the degree that we have worked so hard for. We are here tonight, because we proved that we have stamina and determination, that we have the ability to work hard and also the right attitude to achieve our goals. Fellow graduates -- we made it!!! Congratulations to each one of us!!

Do you still remember your very first day at HPU? To me it seems that time went by in a flash. I had the pleasure of becoming friends with wonderful people from all over the world, who broadened my experience of other cultures. I had some really great instructors, who taught me what I will need to know for my future. I also had the privilege to be surrounded by excellent mentors, who shared with me their personal life experience and showed me what true success is all about. I've learned that success is not a destination -- it's a journey.

Fellow graduates, please take the time and think for a moment about all the people, who helped you along your way, who supported you, and who gave you good advice. I am sure the list is very long. We've invited family and friends here tonight to celebrate our accomplishments with them, but we also invited them because we would like to express our deep appreciation for everything they've done for us.

I am very happy to have my parents here tonight. I am glad to see my friends, my roommates, co-workers, instructors, and lots of other familiar faces. Believe me, it is a great honor to have you all here, and I would like to thank you for all your support and encouragement throughout my academic endeavor. Unfortunately, many people who contributed to our success cannot be here tonight, but sure enough they are in our thoughts.

I would also like to acknowledge some special persons of our HPU community, whose valuable work often remains unnoticed, when we express our gratitude. Many thanks to the janitors and the maintenance personnel, to the security guards, the gardeners and landscapers, the shuttle van drivers, and last but not least to all volunteers and part-time workers. I truly appreciate what you did.

Fellow graduates, I am sure that when you move on now, each one of you will have many things to remember about your college experience at HPU, and the recollection of the many precious moments we have spent with fellow students, professors, and staff members, will be the most memorable souvenir we will take along with us.

There is one incident I remember, that I would like to share with you before leave tonight. You've heard that I traveled thousands of miles to this beautiful island; I came all by myself and didn't know anybody -- sound familiar to some of you? Well, during the first orientation day, I see this guy -- oh no, not what you think! This guy looked very familiar, and so I tried to recall all the places I've been to in my life, thinking of where I could have possibly seen him before. And then, all of a sudden I knew -- Patrick, from my hometown Pfaffenhofen, actually from the same high school. I was so amazed to see somebody I knew, where I had least expected it!

Why am I telling you this? I was trying to show you how small this world is, and how likely we might bump into one another again someday, somewhere. So, until I hopefully see you again, enjoy your life and realize your dreams. I wish you good luck with all your endeavors and lots of success for your future.

Mahalo and aloha!