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 Tuesday, May 23, 2006 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Commencement Reflections

Pomp and circumstance? Yes, some. Traditions? Certainly. A good time? You bet. In fact, I'm thinking this spring's commencement was one of the best.

We did it again. We successfully completed another year and graduated another class. Commencement is the culmination of a journey for graduating students, for parents who paid tuition, room and board for four years (or more), for retiring faculty, and for all of us.

It's been an honor for me to participate in commencement ceremonies. Looking out from the platform at the sea of caps and gowns, I was glad that we've returned to our former tradition of seating the graduates on Folsom Field, surrounded by their family, friends, and many of you who came to witness the final step in their CU experience. I also enjoyed seeing the 50th year class in the procession—the class of 1956 joined with the class of 2006—what a wonderful legacy.

However noble the cause, commencement is one of the toughest speaking assignments. It's close to Mission Impossible. Half of the class can't wait for you to finish and half of the class wants you to say something important and memorable.

Our commencement speaker, Richard S. Fuld, Jr., hit it big. Dick Fuld is a successful CU graduate who has much wisdom about failure and success and who knows firsthand the value of a CU degree. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lehman Brothers, a leading investment banking firm, he was recently featured in a Fortune magazine story that outlined his role and leadership in helping Lehman Brothers grow into a top-tier global investment bank. He gave some real-world tips for success that could benefit everyone. It was good to have him back on campus.

In addition to conferring undergraduate and graduate degrees, each year we award honorary degrees to individuals from business, the sciences, and social sciences who made our world a better place to live. This spring we recognized Jim Collins, Gilbert White, Robert Graebner and Robert Gunning with honorary doctoral degrees. Thurston Manning received the University Medal. Mary Rippon was honored posthumously and her great grandson, Eric Reider, was there to accept her honorary degree.

And so academic year 2005-2006 ends on a high note with commencement. It's the result and the evidence of our collaborative efforts. It gives us hope. Congratulations to all of you on the class of 2006. Let's do it again next year.

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