On behalf of the students of Bucknell, it is my honor to welcome you all, the Class of 2015, to this place that I have grown to call home.
It was quite an interesting journey coming to Bucknell for me in that I am the first and only person in my family to not go to the University of Michigan, and so I never really expected to end up in central Pennsylvania. But it was, I must say, the greatest decision I could have made.
About two weeks into my first-year, I was on the phone with my then eight-year-old brother. He was all excited about what I had done so far, the things I had seen, and the people that I had met. He asked me what I was doing and I casually replied, "Oh I just had lunch and now I'm on my way home." He let out this sound that was the combination of a squeal and laugher, and then started screaming to my mom about how I was walking home all the way from Pennsylvania. Noticing what I had said, I immediately corrected myself and clarified that by "home" I meant my "Bucknell campus dorm room home" and not our home in Michigan. His voice dropped, his tone took a complete 180 and the tears started rolling. I laughed because I honestly didn't really know what else to do, and that, of course, made him cry even harder. He hung up and a few minutes later my mom called. In her broken English and through a thick Korean accent she rattled off a bunch of questions: "Why are you coming home? How are you getting here? Is something wrong?"
As you can imagine, she was a bit hysterical. I explained to her David's misunderstanding, and that I would NOT be coming home - I was just merely going to my room. Then, of course, she began to sob and hastily hung up the phone. I tell this story because of one very important reason: Between stepping on campus for Building on Foundations and that phone call - at some point in those three or four weeks - this place came to be my home.
Well, you're all here. You've made it. And at some point, whether it is next week or next year, this institution will become a place that you will call home, and when that time comes, we will all be proud to call this place our home. Look around you. These people you are sitting next to will be your family. Respect them as you would respect your own and learn from each other and share your stories. Take advantage of all the opportunities that Bucknell has to offer, both in and out of the classroom, and really take the time and energy to make those lifelong connections. Take a moment every now and then to step back and really cherish this University and the relationships that you will forge with your peers, professors, and administrators, because sooner than you realize, you will be walking out that Christy Mathewson Gateway, holding a candle in your hand, or singing the alma mater on the quad just as you did when you came, and join the ranks of the thousands of other alumni who have walked these very same grounds, eating the same foods, and more often than not, learning from the same professors. It will be a magnificent four years, a time for growth, learning, experiencing-a time for you to spread your wings. Be proud and honored, and never forget the network of support that surrounds you. You will soon experience what BU After Dark or Res Colleges or Fast Food Frenzy is like, but remember this feeling of excitement and passion that you have now, because this is what it feels like to be a part of the herd. Welcome home, Class of 2015. You've finally arrived.
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