May 22, 2016

Good morning. I am John Bravman, president of Bucknell University.

On behalf of the faculty, staff, students and Board of Trustees, it is my distinct honor to welcome the Class of 2016 and our master’s degree recipients, along with the many families and friends who have joined us today, and our distinguished keynote speaker — Bucknell alumnus and the chairman, president and CEO of CBS Corporation, Leslie Moonves.

Graduates — this is an inspiring view. Seeing you gathered here today in your caps and gowns brings to mind all that you have accomplished and all you will achieve. Through a combination of hard work, dedication, passion and aspiration, you have arrived at what is a true milestone in your lives — one you will forever remember. Enjoy every moment of it. This is your day.

Parents and families — this is your day as well, a time for you to express your pride in your loved ones for all their great accomplishments here at one of the best universities in the world. I can only begin to imagine the ways in which you have supported and encouraged our graduates. They would not have come this far without you.

Graduates: Would you please rise and with a round of applause show your families how grateful you are for their belief in your potential?

Please remain standing, because there is another group of individuals whom I know you also want to thank — our faculty and staff. Over the years, this committed group of individuals pushed your intellectual boundaries, mentored you and worked every day to deliver on the promise Bucknell made to you when you were choosing your college.

Let’s please share our appreciation for all that they have done to support you during your time here.

There are two more special guests here today whom I would like to acknowledge. Earlier this year, we learned that our dear friends Bob Malesardi, Class of 1945, and his wife, Doris, pledged $20 million to Bucknell, the largest gift in our University’s 170-year history. The money will be used to support financial aid endowment so that it will benefit Bucknellians forevermore.

In honor of this extraordinary and transformative commitment to Bucknell and especially to our students, I am pleased to announce that the University has named the very spot where we gather today in the heart of campus, the Malesardi Quadrangle.

Bob and Doris, please stand so that the Bucknell community can together say thank you for your tremendous generosity that will transform an untold number of lives.

Thank you.



(following the class response by Jennifer Brady '16)

Thank you, Jennifer, for capturing so well the principles of getting it right and getting it right together that have defined your class and the broader community of Bucknellians.

Graduates: We are so proud of you, and we cannot wait to see what you will accomplish next.

I know the pressure is on, perhaps now more than ever, to earn that next achievement, whether you are still figuring out your next steps or heading to top graduate, medical and law schools or to positions at distinguished companies and organizations. Individual accomplishment is an important part of your life responsibilities, and one for which Bucknell has prepared you well. We know you can do it.

But as you carve out your own paths, I ask you to also carry with you in your hearts and minds the promise the Class of 2016 made to itself in its earliest days on campus, when at New Student Orientation it created this motto:

“Achievement comes as an individual; success comes as a whole.”

Success will come to you if you nourish your whole intellect. Just like you did at Bucknell, pursue interests within and beyond your professional field. Learn about new topics, and make connections among fields that at first might seem disparate. Experiment, create, reason and question.

Success will come to you if you enrich the communities you will join after Bucknell. Engage in dialogue with people who have perspectives and ideas different from your own. Find ways to make the places you live and work better. Help those in need of support or encouragement. And challenge everyone to be the best version of themselves by setting an example through your own behavior.

And success will come to you if you work to transform the interconnected global community to which all of us belong. In what small or large ways can you help bring a more sustainable, ethical and just world? How will reach beyond individual achievement to work toward whole, true success in this exhilarating, messy, trouble and beautiful whole human endeavor we call life?

I know you are eager to reunite with your friends and families and take some photos and enjoy your lunch, so let me offer one final congratulations to you. We will miss you, but Bucknell will always be here for you, and we will be here, always, wishing you the very best.