President Bannister, Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, family, friends, Gov. Abercrombie and distinguished guests — on behalf of Rob, Landrita and myself, good evening and A-L-O-H-A!
To the graduates of the Class of 2012, we made it! We made it through the sleepless days during exams; we made it, through numerous hours studying in the library, labs and computer center; we even made it through the freezing classrooms and long lines at Fort Street Café.
For the past four years, HPU has made a significant impact on my life. I enjoyed intellectual, artistic and cultural freedom to think, to serve, and to grow. I have learned to become a global citizen, ready to take the world as my stage. I have also learned that we better graduate as soon as possible, before the tuition rises.
Today, I am greatly honored to stand here and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to everyone who has touched our lives and helped us grow. First of all, I thank my parents, without your unconditional love and sacrifice, I wouldn’t be here today. I want to thank our professors who have enlightened us, without your encouragement and support, we wouldn’t be here today. I especially want to extend my thanks to Dean Deborah Crown of the College of Business and Dr. Jerry Agrusa of Travel Industry Management; thank you for seeing my potential before I could see it. Finally, thank you, my friends, FSC-ers and fellow graduates, I wouldn’t be here today without you. No, I would still be here. But without you, the journey would be less enjoyable, work would be just work, and my Facebook account will be quite empty.
I heard that nobody remembers the valedictorian speech. But I really want to share this with you: Graduation might be the end of your studying, but it shouldn’t be the end of your learning. If you look up the word “Commencement” in dictionaries, you will find that it doesn’t mean farewell or finishing line. Instead, it means “a beginning, a start”. Maybe that is why a ceremony like this is called the commencement. As we celebrate our great achievements today, we should know that in the journeys we are about to begin, there always will be things to learn. The world requires not just a diploma, but life-long learning.
A Chinese proverb says that life is like rowing upstream: not to advance is to drop back. As I leave this message with you, I hope you keep up the good work, live every minute to the fullest and wish you the best on your future endeavors!
Congratulations, to the graduating Class of 2012!