Good morning on this glorious day and welcome to Bucknell University's 164th Commencement ceremony. I am John Bravman, President of the University. On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and the University Board of Trustees, congratulations to the Class of 2014 and all of our master's degree recipients.
This is your moment.
We welcome today to our campus our students' family and friends, as well as best-selling author and award-winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn. And we are happy to welcome back to campus our honorary degree recipient Dr. David Boger, Class of 1961. Thank you, everyone, for joining us on this most special day.
Now this Commencement is particularly meaningful to me, as four years ago this summer, my wife, Wendy, and I, and our son Cole, who was then just 10 weeks olds, came to Bucknell after many years on the West Coast. It wasn't long after we arrived that I was helping some of you, the members of the Class of 2014, move in to your new homes here on campus.
Though nobody threw paint at me during my orientation like you did to each other, together you and I experienced our first taste of the exciting, challenging and ultimately rewarding experiences that comprise Bucknell.
Class, much like I imagine you were, I was excited by the opportunities ahead — in my case the privilege of helping make an already renowned liberal arts university an even better place for students to live and learn.
Over the past four years, Bucknell has evolved. We have introduced new majors; new faculty; new residential, research and creative programs; a new academic building and so much more — all to strengthen the education that you and your families entrusted to us. I have changed too. I have another son, Cooper. I have an unparallelled appreciation for the amazing work that our students, faculty and staff do on a daily basis. And I have a more comprehensive understanding of the challenges and opportunities that face this great institution, and what we need to do now to extend Bucknell's excellence far into the future.
You too have evolved. I've seen the tremendous changes in the many of you whom I've had the privilege of getting to know. You know much more than you did on that first day of classes, gaining not just facts and information, but wisdom. You think more critically. And you now have not only the potential but also the true capacity to take on the world long after you leave this campus.
I ask the Class of 2014 to please rise. You are surrounded literally by your peers but more broadly by people all around you who helped you get to this point. Obviously you've done the work and the degree is yours. But I understand because I know as you do that this journey was not one you made alone. I'd like first, Class, for you to turn around and to face your family and friends and show them your thanks and appreciation for what they'd done for you.
And now I'd like to ask everyone in the audience who is able to please stand and I'd like all of you to show your appreciation for the members of the faculty and staff represented here on stage with me, my colleagues who have made this day possible.
Thank you. Please be seated.
It is now my pleasure to introduce our distinguished Commencement speaker, Sheryl WuDunn.
Through her words and her actions, Ms. WuDunn has shown a great passion for the social change that can be brought about by the actions of one.
She has co-authored three best-selling books: China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power; Thunder from the East: Portrait of a Rising Asia; and Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, on which she gave her extremely popular 2010 TED Global talk.
Ms. WuDunn is also a business executive, entrepreneur and philanthropist. A former vice president with Goldman Sachs' investment management division, she is currently a senior managing director at Mid-Market Securities, LLC, where she helps growth companies focusing on new media technology, entertainment, social media, healthcare and emerging markets.
Prior to moving into the investment world, she worked at The New York Times as both an executive and a journalist. She was The Times' first anchor of an evening news program for a digital cable TV channel, and worked as a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Beijing, where she wrote about economic, financial, political and social issues.
She earned a Pulitzer Prize for her coverage of China's push for democracy and the Tiananmen Square protests, making her the first Asian-American to win the award. Ms. WuDunn has been honored with numerous other awards, including the Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Lifetime Achievement, the George Polk Award, the Pearl S. Buck Woman of the Year Award and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Prize.
In 2011, Newsweek cited her as one of the "150 Women Who Shake the World." She graduated from Cornell University and holds advanced degrees from Harvard Business School and Princeton University.
Class of 2014, colleagues, family and friends, please join me in welcoming Sheryl WuDunn to the podium.
[Read the transcript of Sheryl WuDunn's address]
I'm often asked about the purpose of education, and now I have a new answer to give. It's like throwing starfish back in the ocean one at a time, because here at Bucknell we try to serve our students one student at a time. Thank you for that great set of remarks and for reminding us why we're all here.
It is now my pleasure to introduce the Class of 2014 student speaker, Chet Otis. Chet is an economics and political science double major from Princeton Junction, N.J. He stands out as a leader on campus, having served as president of the Penn Gamma chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity and an executive board member of Intrafraternity Council. A regular volunteer with the Lewisburg Community Garden and the local Community Harvest meal program, Chet challenged his fraternity brothers to increase the time they spent serving the community. Chet was also a captain of the club baseball team, founded the Morris Investment Club and served as an economics teaching assistant. Outside of Bucknell, he interned with the New Jersey State Republican Committee and Pennsylvania Democratic Committee. He is currently weighing several offers of admission from top law schools.
Please join me in welcoming to the podium Chet Otis.
[Read the transcript of Chet Otis' address]
Thank you, Chet. As you and the Class of 2014 continue your journey, know that we are proud of you and promise to always be your community, just as you said.
Four years ago, on the eve of the start of our first academic year together, I said in my Convocation remarks that we had very high expectations of you. I challenged you to be inquisitive and curious during your time here. To ask questions, experience new things, and fully embrace all the privileges and responsibilities of higher learning — and to do all of this so that you could become the best, most authentic versions of yourselves, the person you were meant to be.
You've come so far. But do not let this day be the end of your journey. Instead, make this the beginning of a lifetime of learning, of leadership, of service, of friendship — and make it a lifetime of adventure. Pursue excellence; don't worry about success because it will find you.
Graduates, we will miss you, but we will always be here for you. Please come back and visit us often.
Congratulations to all of you and now would all please rise for the singing of the Alma Mater?
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