Families, friends, Bucknell faculty and staff and fellow graduates:

Thank you all for joining us here at Bucknell University's 164th Commencement ceremony. It is my honor to be able to deliver this student response on this really, truly exciting day.

I want to begin today, though, by speaking on behalf of all of the graduates by saying thank you. Without the support of our families and our loved ones, and the help from this great Bucknell faculty, we couldn't have made it to this day. So, while many of us may have forgotten to call home just a bit too often, please know we are forever grateful.

To my fellow graduates: congratulations. We made it! It's hard to believe that we've come so far so quickly.

And it really has been quick, too. I know I am not alone when I say it feels like just yesterday when we were moving into our freshman halls, Smith 2A for me. I still vividly remember my OAs telling me that these four years were going to fly by, and that each year would move quicker and quicker. They were right.

Four years ago, we walked through the Christy Mathewson Gates and we began our journey as Bucknell students. Now, four years later, we have walked through those gates again. We have plenty to show for it.

Over the past four years, this class has achieved so much. We've studied in different countries, created new organizations, and conducted innovative research. We've put on outstanding musical and artistic performances, achieved academic and athletic excellence, and compiled many accolades along the way. Standing here today, I have no doubt that we will contribute to the world in a profound way.

We are on the brink of our future. We walk across this stage and away from this campus, diploma in hand, ready to make a difference. For the last four years we have trained and we have prepared so that we will succeed. Some of us will go on to become engineers or accountants, some will become biologists or artists. Some, like myself, just couldn't quite get enough of school and are going to continue to postpone our trip into the working world.

But no matter what it is that you plan on doing next year, this is truly an exciting time for all of us, as well as for all of the audience members here who have rooted us on for so long.

So, as we approach the "real world", why is it that I feel so anxious? I doubt I'm alone in that sentiment. What an interesting parallel this provides us to when we first came here as Bucknellians. When we first came to new student orientation and met our fellow classmates, we experienced feelings of great excitement, but also feelings of great anxiousness. Next year, we face this world apart from our community for the first time in four years. That thought used to terrify me and became even more terrifying as today got closer.

But I speak in the past tense for a reason. You see, all that we need to do in order to overcome these fears is to realize that the Bucknell community isn't going anywhere. In fact, it's about to get much larger. I remember a conversation that I had with a faculty member here. She told me that her favorite moments on campus are when students and alumni stop by just to say hello.

And that's what Bucknell is really about. It offers so much to all of us — from the moment we walk through those gates for the first time, through the rest of our lives. Once I recognized that, I realized there's no reason to fear what comes next. Everyone here is sincerely and passionately interested in what we will do in the future. The Bucknell faculty wants us to keep a toe in the Bucknell community at all times. The Bucknell community is always willing to take the time and the effort to help one another. There's no reason that our community, which we have worked so hard to build for four years, should ever dissipate.

We are Bucknellians today, and when we leave here, that will not change. You do not need to be a current Bucknell student in order to proudly wear the title of Bucknellian. From this day forward, every Bucknellian that you do meet will share the unique, and the private feeling that it has been to be inspired by this great University. That bond will be instantaneous and it will be strong.

I have built the strongest friendships of my life here. For that, I am just as grateful as for the education itself, and for the doors it has opened. For those of you who are nervous to leave here, remember the friendships that you've formed. Remember the relationships and how important those relationships are, and never let those bonds weaken. As long as we maintain the strength of the Bucknell community, of our Bucknell community, we will carry on the great tradition of the Bucknell way. We are now luckily charged with the unique opportunity to wear the title: Bucknell graduate. It is now our job to continue paving the path that so many have paved before us.

I wait with anticipation to see just how much we all can accomplish in the coming years. Let's continue to wear that Bucknellian title with pride and let's build on its already strong name.

Thank you to all of my fellow graduates for allowing me to enjoy the best four years of my life. It has been an honor and a pleasure to have gong through this journey with you all as my classmates. And always remember to keep the past in heart, the present in mind, and the future in sight. Congratulations and most importantly, 'ray Bucknell!

Thank you.