Valedictory Speakers

Mannino, Toni-Anne Marie

President Bannister, Board of Trustees, faculty and deans, family and friends, both here and watching online, and fellow graduates. Good evening, and thank you for joining us as we celebrate — this momentous occasion.

Not too long ago my friend, and fellow classmate, Josh asked me if I was going to walk at graduation and I said, “Why should I go to a three-hour ceremony when I can take three minutes to walk to my mailbox and get my diploma?”

But as I thought about this day I realized something … the piece of paper arriving by mail, destined for a frame, isn’t what matters. What matters is what those pieces of paper, our diplomas, represent. They represent personal growth, the people we’ve befriended, the knowledge bestowed upon us, and how we will use that knowledge to impact society.

Every person in this room knows that getting a college degree is neither fast nor easy, and each person’s path leading them here was different. My path consisted of four states, five colleges, and seven years of transferring credits as I followed my husband’s military career across the country.

And when my path led me to the Military Campus Program’s MCB Hawai‘i Kane‘ohe office, the advisors painstakingly went over my degree plan and supported me as I continuously changed my mind, which for those of you who don’t know me, is not out of character. While it may have taken me a little longer than some to get my BSBA, it would have taken even longer without the flexibility HPU’s Military Campus Program.

Like many of you, I have waited for this day for a long time, but graduating is bittersweet, because we must now say good-bye to those we care for, have learned from, and developed friendships with. While it’s nearly impossible to remain in touch with each individual who has impacted our lives what we can do is remember them. Take a moment to look at those around you, don’t wallow in the past or obsess about the future, just enjoy today, because you know what it took to get here, and you’ve earned it. I wish you all the best and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Congratulations class of 2012!