Valedictory Speakers

Tateishi, Shaun K. H.

President Wright, members of the Board of Trustees, distinguished faculty, HPU staff, fellow graduates, family and friends. It is a tremendous honor for me to speak on behalf of the undergraduate class on this momentous occasion.

Greek philosopher Plato said, "Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something."  Hopefully, tonight, I fall under the "wise" category.

This evening -- finals completed and papers turned in -- marks the grand finale of our undergraduate lives at Hawai'i Pacific University. We now ready ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead-challenges that HPU has well prepared us for.

The Roman poet Manilius wrote, "Finis Origine Pendet" -- "The end depends on the beginning."  In one sense, we have reached the end of the beginning -- tonight one chapter in our Book of Life comes to a close.  And while our futures may be hazy, the education we have received at HPU will carry us through to an end that will undoubtedly be filled with greatness.

I began my HPU college career five years ago -- at the age of thirteen -- a young boy, short in stature, a sponge ready to absorb knowledge.  I was accepted -- I was welcomed -- but above all else, I was challenged.  Challenge is not merely a reason to live -- it is to live! Seek challenge, embrace it and find fun in it.

Throughout my years at HPU, I've grown in stature (I'm now much taller) and grown in wisdom and knowledge -- knowledge that will not stop tonight.  The ceremony we are now celebrating is called "commencement," meaning that knowledge does not stop -- it commences -- and we must remember to never stop learning.

I attribute my learning -- my education -- to three main sources. My HPU professors and mentors who have encouraged me to believe in my dreams, and have constantly challenged my mind.  Thank you for providing me with a world-class education.

Thank you to my fellow classmates.  Through our diversity, I have learned that differences are not a problem but rather an opportunity to seek solutions.

I thank my Mom, Ginny Haugrud, who has been the "wind beneath my wings."  From her, I have learned the true meaning of sacrifice, unconditional love and support.

No one travels alone on life's journey and so on behalf of all graduates, I extend our sincere thanks to our professors, family, classmates, friends and all others who have supported and helped us. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

My best to you. May all your dreams come true.

Aloha and Godspeed to thee!