Chancellor and faculty in snowy spring 2019 commencement procession

Remarks as prepared

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 Boulder.

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

With us today are many members of the faculty, who have guided and mentored these graduates. They have shared their knowledge and expertise to help each student reach this important milestone.

Graduates: Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world. Those are the words of Nelson Mandela.

On your diploma, you will see the university seal, which depicts a torch in the hands of youth. You, as the next generation, will light our way. You will be our next leaders, scientists, teachers, entrepreneurs and citizens of the world. You will carry the torch for our nation and the world.

In your career at CU Boulder, you have learned valuable lessons in critical thinking, civil discourse, collaborative decision-making and creative solutions.

You have learned to be well-rounded thinkers and creative problem-solvers regardless of your degree. You are flexible and adaptable in a rapidly changing world, prepared to be the leaders and innovators who will positively impact humanity.

You have lived by the Colorado Creed, with honor, integrity and accountability. You respect the rights of others and accept our differences. And you contribute to the greater good of the community and society.

You have been prepared for jobs that currently do not yet exist, using technologies that haven’t been invented, in order to solve problems that we don’t even know are problems yet.

You are prepared not only for your first job, but also for your fourth, fifth and sixth job.

You are ready to be successful on any path you choose, and you have the ability to change paths.

Our very first graduate Henry Drumm, 137 years ago, was a barber, newspaper reporter, teacher, legal clerk, real estate and insurance broker, railroad man, lawyer, mapmaker and publisher. He also was elected to the state legislature and served on the Boulder City Council.

Mr. Drumm stayed engaged with the university throughout his entire life, and I hope you will, too. He was our first Forever Buff.

Tribute to President and Mrs. Benson

As I speak of Forever Buffs, I want to pay tribute to CU President Bruce Benson who is retiring from the university on June 30. Mr. Benson is an alumnus, a lifelong donor to our university, and for the last 11 years, president of the four-campus CU system. He has been a supporter of education in Colorado his entire adult life.

At this time, I would like to call President Benson and his wife Marcy to the podium. President and Mrs. Benson have been a great team for our university and we thank them for their service.

The Bensons have served our university for years, in many capacities, long before taking on this top leadership role. Their generosity, fundraising and leadership have led directly to success and opportunities for our students. I would like to present them a small gift of appreciation on behalf of our campus community. 

Introduction of Savannah Sellers

Now it is my pleasure to introduce our commencement speaker, Savannah Sellers.

Ms. Sellers is a correspondent for NBC News and MSNBC. She is cohost of Stay Tuned, NBC’s Generation Z news show on Snapchat and Instagram.

She is also host of NBC News for Universal Kids, the only daily TV news program created specifically for kids.

Ms. Sellers has covered a wide variety of trends and penetrating social issues most vital to the Millennial and GenZ generations. She also co-hosts several high-profile charity events. 

She graduated from CU Boulder in 2013 with a degree in broadcast news and international media. She got her start as a producer and reporter for the biweekly NewsTeam Boulder student broadcast here on campus. Two years after graduating from CU, she won an Emmy Award for News and Documentary.

Ms. Sellers was invited to be our commencement speaker by CU Boulder’s Senior Class Council. At age 27, she may be our youngest commencement speaker ever.

Ms. Sellers is a first-generation college graduate who knows first-hand the opportunities provided by a college education.

Through her work informing younger generations about crucial issues regarding our shared future, Ms. Sellers embodies our university’s highest values of shaping tomorrow’s leaders, impacting others on a global level, and being innovative in her work and career as a CU alumna.

Please welcome Savannah Sellers!