Valedictory Speakers

LeBlanc, Robert E.

President Wright, Members of the Board of Trustees, Faculty, Students, Families, and Guests.

We have been through a lot for the first twelve days of the New Year and new millenium. We survived the Y2K bug; our televisions and VCR's are still working. Then there was the end of the world new millenium scare we had to face. Now we stand here ready to graduate and venture out into the world to start the next stage of our lives.

It is a great honor to be given this opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow classmates and to share some of my experiences.

I would not be standing here if it were not for the great personal relationships that the Satellite Campuses gave me. I remember calling the campus one day. I said, "I have decided that since I am half way through my degree plan I'll just stop going to class and pay you for the rest of my unfinished classes." Well the response I received was not what I was looking for, but it was the next best thing. I was told "No, you can not do this Rob and when are you going to register for the next semester, I have a list of classes that may work out for you." It is this kind of personal relationship that all the campuses provide, because they want to. Thank you for those moments, it made the transition from one semester to the next easier.

We have experienced tight schedules and deadlines. There is only so much time in a day and when you take out working full-time, standing duty, driving to class and home some things are left out, eating dinner and a good night's sleep. We have all made large sacrifices in order to achieve our goal, the goal of standing here graduating with an Associates, Bachelor, or Masters Degree. I applaud and admire everyone here today. There are those who had to cut back on time spent with family, because that paper had to get done or there were midterms or finals.

The day I graduated high school I swore that I was done going to school, well here I am standing here 14 years later graduating again I guess I was wrong. You may ask what happened to change my mind. I was working as a licensed electrician and times were good until the New England area fell on hard economic times and a recession. I spent most of my time working part time and in the unemployment line. I realized that this is not how I wanted to live my life nor plan a future around. I knew there was so much more to learn and furthering my education would open up new horizons for me. I joined the United States Navy to help me attain this goal and I have been stationed here for my entire career. Both the Navy and Hawai'i Pacific University have given me the tools and skills to take another step in life. I stand here ready to exit the Navy with my Bachelors degree in hand ready for a new adventure in the world and life.

Lastly, I would like to recognize that today is a milestone in all of our lives. Remember that we have discovered things about ourselves as we accomplished this goal. As we take the next step into the world do not forget the characteristics that we all demonstrated: determination, dedication, and the persistence to achieve the goals that were set. I mention this because there will be new challenges and goals to be reached and again you will call upon these traits in future endeavors. Be proud of your accomplishment and may success follow you.

Thank you