Thank you, Dean Cyboron.
President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished faculty, families, guests and fellow graduates.
Poet Robert Frost wrote, "…two roads diverged in a wood, and I - - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference."
The quest for a college education coupled with frequent military transfers has certainly made this personal journey longer than one experienced by most traditional college students. Thankfully, I have had guides illuminate my path along the way; Help from the Marine Corps Base Hawaii Education Office, my wife Susan and fellow service members who achieved degrees and still excelled in their duties.
It was, however, Hawaii Pacific University's tremendous flexibility in supporting a non-traditional student that made achieving a degree possible. Military Campus evening and weekend classes, web-based courses, classes at both the downtown and Hawaii Loa campuses, and directed studies were just some of the many resources that the HPU military program staff ensured were taken advantage of.
The same staff often faxed course description information and registration documents during my many overseas and mainland military trips. Professors often went out of their way to e-mail class assignments or important notes.
My fellow students were also a lifeline. On many occasions, I would receive an e-mail with much needed information to fill the gap of a missed class. Some of those students that helped were from countries I had never visited and knew very little about. Yet, I was struck by our common goal; self-improvement and a desire to achieve a higher education. That experience made this journey an international one.
Like a stamped passport, the evidence of our journey will be in the form of a degree. Many of us will undoubtedly frame that degree and ensure that it is prominently displayed for all to see. Its real purpose, however, should not be to document past accomplishments, but to serve as a road marker that ensures we remain on a journey of lifelong learning.
Congratulations graduates and mahalo to all of those who have provided their guidance and support.