Aloha Fellow Graduates! We made it!
I would like to sincerely thank President Chatt Wright and the members of the Deans' Council for selecting me to represent Hawai'i Pacific University's downtown Summer Class of 2003. This is an honor that I will truly cherish for a lifetime.
I want to also thank my adoring grandmother, Eleanore Tulloh, for the opportunity to attend college, and for her everlasting faith in my capabilities. To my mom and dad, Pamela and Albert Okuna, who have supported me daily in countless ways, thank you. To my children, Ty and Justin, I pass down a family legacy and it's a good thing I'm a finance major, because from what I've learned, I'd better start saving now! Last but not least, I would like to thank my dear friends, who have definitely helped to keep me sane over these past four and a half years.
We are all here tonight because of our ability to overcome adversity, work hard, and persevere. Some of us are single working parents, some are in the armed forces, and some are thousands of miles away from home. We have all made sacrifices to reach this common goal. Our achievements should not be taken lightly.
HPU has enriched my life, from the people I've met from all over the world, to the teachers I've admired, to the knowledge I've gained that will increase my opportunities. I will always remember that I was treated with respect, and although there is a large student body, I have always felt recognized and valued.
An interesting irony, I've discovered in college, is that the more you learn, the more you don't know! With that in mind, comes the importance of life-long learning, for it is truly the journey and not the destination that builds character, and leads us to human enlightenment.
Today is a great accomplishment for us all, but it must not end here. It is what we do from this point on with our education that matters. HPU has been an invaluable stepping-stone to our future, but we alone have control over our own destinies.
Good luck everyone, and congratulations!