Valedictory Speakers

Wagner, Daniel

President Wright, members of the board of trustees, faculty, fellow graduates, families and friends.

Before I begin, I would like to thank two very extraordinary people: My mom and my dad, who have made tremendous sacrifices to get me to this point in my life. They have seen me grow from infancy through adolescence into early adulthood, but to me they have always been parents. Children grow up to be adults but parents are parents forever. And with this, I would like to extend my thankfulness to all the magnificent parents who are here tonight to witness the achievement of this major milestone in their daughter's or son's lives. Thank you to all of you, because the best inheritance you will ever give us is setting a great example and serving as a guide, mentor and friend.

Tonight we celebrate a great array of things. We celebrate our graduation and achieving a major milestone in our lives; but we also celebrate those tough and intense battles against the alarm clock in each morning in which we rose to the challenge and got ourselves to school on time; at least often enough to be here tonight. We celebrate those nights in which we decided to go out with our friends, even though there was a big project due on the next day. We celebrate having gone back to the classroom on a nice and shiny day when the delightful and warming Hawaiian sun was inviting us to go to the beach; at least most of the times. We celebrate having traded those calm, pleasant and relaxed hours close to the oceanfront for those cruel and stressful hours reading through textbooks and notebooks, at least prior to final exam week. We celebrate having studied, learned, and most importantly lived college life.

Tonight this street which we have traveled for 3, 4, maybe 6 years has come to an end. But it does not conclude in a dead end, but rather in a major intersection, in which new roads lead into all directions. It is now in our own hands to pick a new route.

Michelangelo once said that the greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and miss it, but rather that we aim too low and reach it. For no dreamer is ever too small and no dream is ever too big for that person who lives life with passion and sees the beauty and splendor which the future has to offer us.

Fellow graduates, congratulations to all of you! Good luck on your new journey and remember to celebrate the little things, as well as the big ones along the way.

Thank you and good night.