May 23, 2011

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Ken Freeman '72
Class of 2011 Commencement
May 22, 2011

Good morning. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, welcome to the 161st Commencement at Bucknell University.

Members of the Class of 2011, parents and families, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the Bucknell community, and Mr. Weihenmayer, it is a pleasure and a privilege to be with you this morning.

Graduates, 1972 must seem like ancient history for you. For me it seems like only yesterday. My classmates and I were sitting where you are, with our own caps and gowns. We were pinching ourselves. We could hardly believe that we had successfully completed four years of study at one of the very best liberal arts universities in the country.

So many emotions rushed through us:

Pride that our hard work in class had paid off; gratitude to our families for supporting us every step of the way; amazement that our time at Bucknell had gone by so quickly; and yes, sadness at the thought of leaving the friends that surrounded us.

After Commencement, we would scatter to pursue our own personal adventures — jobs, graduate school, military service, travel and so much more. It must be hard for you to imagine — this was years before personal computers, smartphones, Skype, Facebook and Twitter. It was the era of 8-track tapes, handwritten letters and pay phones fed by pocketfuls of change.

Despite our low-tech lifestyle, we forged incredibly strong relationships as classmates. There is no doubt that you have, too.

Graduation made us realize that our relationship with classmates, and with Bucknell, had only just begun. You will discover the same is true for you, and it will make you feel just as fortunate. You stand with feet firmly planted on a solid academic foundation. You can count on a lifetime of support from Bucknellians of all ages, including your fellow alumni and your dedicated professors.

If there's one thing that I've learned since my own graduation almost 40 years ago, it is that life changes constantly, and we cannot anticipate every challenge. We simply cannot prepare for every situation.

Take comfort in the fact that your activities and accomplishments at Bucknell will sustain you in the years to come. Don't worry about what life may throw your way. Know that you can handle it. Your Bucknell friends, your classmates, the faculty and staff and alumni, will be there for you, always. And enjoy this very special moment, this new chapter of your life as a part of Bucknell University. It is yours to savor.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, congratulations on your magnificent achievement. We extend our very best wishes and take great pride in all of your successes — today and tomorrow. Congratulations.

Contact: Division of Communications


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