Today we're here to celebrate students who have gotten a lot out of their Bucknell experience. As Steven Mintz, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin recently observed:

" It's at college that many hone the essential skills of adulthood, time management, multitasking, meeting deadlines... Equally important, residential students learn indispensable social skills: especially how to interact with diverse peers and how to enter, manage, and end intimate relationships."1

Before we focus on our successful seniors, however, I want to consider what it took to get you here. As a resource, I turned recently to that trove of knowledge, the Huffington Post! In an interesting blog entitled "The 6 Big Price Tags of Preparing Students for the Future", Tim Elmore suggested that you needed six kinds of people in your environment to help you succeed. Students, listen to his list and see who comes to mind in each category:

  1. People with insight and foresight to spot your strengths and weaknesses and the areas you needed to grow and develop in. These people not only know you well, but they also have the knack of thinking ahead, of envisioning what you will need for life's journey.
  2. People with the courage to have emotional conversations. As Elmore put it: "It's harder to train a young adult than to simply give them what they want." But our award winners have benefited from those who helped them learn that "no" is often the first step in learning.
  3. People who were willing and able to withstand being disliked and misunderstood at times. Sometimes the first thing we do when we hear "no" is to "slay the messenger." Only later do we realize how helpful that negative answer was.
  4. People who found environments for you to experiment and grow in. Elmore quipped that "humans are like rubber bands — we are only useful when we are stretched." For the parents in the audience, thank you for entrusting Bucknell with your daughter or son, for choosing Bucknell as that setting in which to fail and eventually succeed, that environment for growth.
  5. People who invest time — a lot of it. Students, think of the hours others have spent advising you, coaching, listening, comforting: hours others have invested in you.
  6. People who have demonstrated their faith in you. Instead of solving a problem for you, others have told you that you have the capacity and tenacity to solve it. In so many ways, they have told you they believe in you.

I know that every award winner has a team of people who have played these roles for her or him. We will spend most of our time today focusing on the individuals who have succeeded, but just for a moment I want us to focus on the team members as well.

Would all of the family members in the audience please rise and be acknowledged by our students and faculty for all that you have contributed to your Bucknellian's success? Thank you.

Now would all of the faculty members present-either on stage or in the audience- please rise and be acknowledged for all that you have contributed to our students' success? Thank you

So, members of the class of 2014, congratulations on your many successes. It's time to celebrate!


1 "Promoting Students Non-Cognitive Development" Read more at Inside Higher Ed


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