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 make this day possible. Please join me in showing our appreciation.

Graduates, congratulations! Your hard work has brought you to this day.

For generations college presidents and chancellors have been telling newly minted graduates to use their education to transform themselves and the world. But the world today is a complex, difficult and confusing place – not easy to negotiate much less transform.

Today, I am here to tell you, that equipped with your CU degree, you can each make a difference in this world.

How? You can start by remembering the Colorado Creed, the tenets of which you have probably seen on our sidewalks, walls and public spaces since the day you set foot on campus. Think about these seven words that you have seen daily on your way to classes: act … honor … integrity … accountability … respect … accept … contribute.

The Colorado Creed says: Act with honor, integrity and accountability in all your interactions. Respect the rights of others and accept our differences. Contribute to the greater good.

You will likely see those words some place on campus again before you leave today. And you will see them when you return to campus as a Forever Buff.

The great beauty of the Colorado Creed is that it was created by students, for students.

 It was created 11 years ago, and even though the world has changed a lot in a decade, the Creed is timeless. Though it was not written down until 2004, the Colorado Creed has been part of CU’s culture and spirit since 1876 when the university was founded. Its tenets still apply today …. especially today. 

We hope that as you leave this great university you will Live the Creed, acting with integrity, honor and respect. Like your degree, we hope that you will carry the ideals of the Creed with you for your entire life, and it will be an integral part of your education.

Yes, your CU education will help you land the job you want. But more than that, your education is a tool in your hands to build bridges and bring understanding in a world increasingly invaded by the simplistic and inflexible thinking of absolutism. Your education is the antidote for the turmoil in our world today. Education provides richness, complexity and diversity and the beauty of all those things. It builds bridges across peoples, cultures and geography.

Education is about self transformation, and transformation is about change and the way you approach the world. Education is the most valuable thing you can do for yourself and the world in which you live. Congratulations! You earned it.

Introduce commencement speaker Fred Anderson

Now, it is my pleasure to introduce our commencement speaker. It is our tradition to ask the university’s Hazel Barnes Award winner to deliver the winter commencement speech.  

The Hazel Barnes Prize is awarded each year to a faculty member who best exemplifies the enriching interrelationship between teaching and research, and whose work has had a significant impact on students, faculty, colleagues and the university. It is the most distinguished award a faculty member can receive from the university.

The 2015 Hazel Barnes winner is Professor Fred Anderson. Dr. Anderson jointed the faculty in 1983 and his passion for mentoring and engaging students for 32 years is inspiring to us all. Prior to coming to CU, Dr. Anderson served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in history from Harvard University. He specializes in early American history and is known as one of the top historians in his field.

Colleagues and former students across the nation are effusive in describing the positive impact he has had on their lives, both professionally and personally. He demonstrates what it means to be both a distinguished scholar and a superb teacher.

I give you our commencement speaker, Professor Fred Anderson.