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 Tuesday, May 12 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Spring 2009 Commencement May 8, 2009, Folsom Field
Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano

Graduates, members of the Board of Regents, President Benson, members of the faculty and staff, parents, distinguished guests, family and friends; it is my pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to address you today as the Chancellor of the University of Colorado at Boulder.

I know today's graduates join me in extending a special welcome to their families and friends whose love and support have helped to make this day possible. Please join me in showing them our appreciation.

With us today, are many members of the faculty who have guided and mentored these students. They have shared with them their time, knowledge and expertise, to help each student reach this important milestone and their full potential. Will the faculty please stand and be recognized?

The class of 2009 is a special class in many ways. You are the first era of students to live the entirety of your career at CU by a student-developed Honor Code. And you have fully embraced the Colorado Creed, a voluntary code of conduct put in place by students in 2004 and 2005 that promotes principles such as action, honor, integrity and accountability.

As Mahatma Ghandi said, "What lies ahead of you and what lies behind you, is nothing compared to what lies within you."

This class of students also helped to put CU on the national map of civic engagement and community service. CU was one of only three universities in the nation to receive the U.S. President’s Award for Community Service. Fourteen thousand students devote more than 360,000 hours of community service annually. You have made CU the kind of university that others aspire to be.

Your legacy as the Class of 2009 is also seen in more visible ways. Your student fees have supported our new educational and classroom buildings. ATLAS, Wolf Law and Koelbel business were open to you. Now the Visual Arts Complex is rising from the ground. Your support of these educational buildings came during a time when the state could not provide the necessary support.

These four "green" buildings will forever be your legacy and the legacy of the students of this era. They will be here for your siblings, your children and your grandchildren. They will live on for posterity.

Now as graduates of the University of Colorado at Boulder you are making the transition from students to alumni. As alumni, I hope you will help us to ensure that future generations of students share in your legacy. CU’s first commencement was June 4, 1882. That very afternoon, the six members of the graduating class met to form the Alumni Association. Today, all of you continue their legacy.

Whether you are the first in your family to graduate from college − as I was − or you are from a long line of college graduates − all of you, your friends, your family and your loved ones − are full of hope for your future.

When I graduated from Ohio State on June 7, 1968, it was two days after Robert Kennedy was assassinated and 63 days after Martin Luther King was assassinated. The country was in shock. We were 21 years old, seeking hope and looking for trust.

Our graduation speaker that day in 1968 was the most-trusted man in America, CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite, speaking to us fresh from having reported on those tragedies that shook America.

The message that he gave us, as we sat, where you sit today, in our pressed gowns and stiff mortarboards, with our lives fully in front us, was one of hope. The most trusted man in America was telling us to have hope in these most troubled of times as we set out in the world on our own.

Today, as you graduate, our country again faces hard times. Today, you sit where I sat 41 years ago, your heart filled with hope. I hope that as University of Colorado graduates, we have inspired you to turn hope into action, foresight into change, and scholarship into leadership. I hope we have inspired you to be the leaders of your generation.

It was Mr. Cronkite who said, “I can't imagine a person becoming a success who doesn't give this game of life everything he's got.”

Woody Allen put it another way, “The only thing that stands between me and success is me.”

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