Time flies when you’re raising children. By the time you receive this post, I will be attending the third of three graduation ceremonies: my daughter’s graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill, her boyfriend’s graduation from Virginia Military Institute, and today my son’s high school commencement from St. Christopher’s School. During the first two, while I marveled at the swift passage of time from kindergarten to commencement, I eagerly wondered what pearls of wisdom the graduation speakers would share with the Class of 2013.
The speeches held no surprises, but I was reassured that although technology and societies change, a few simple truths still stand the test of time. If the graduates take them to heart, the messages can lead to a productive and happy life for them. Read on if you are interested in the words imparted by three interesting and accomplished speakers.
Mr. Steve Case
Steve Case, businessman, philanthropist and co-founder of America Online, spoke at the UNC Commencement.
Don’t be so focused on the ending that you don’t open the door when opportunity knocks.
Mr. Case’s speech progressed through that entrepreneurial lens. He gave the Class of 2013 three pieces of advice.
People. Focus on surrounding yourself with good people. If you don’t like the company you keep, you won’t enjoy your work. He quoted an African proverb as testament.
If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go with others.
Passion. Focus on your passions to find your place in the world. Those are the opportunities that will be attractive to you and provide paths that are meaningful.
Perseverance. Cliche as it sounds, don’t give up if you believe in your vision. He cautioned that one must have a game plan, quoting Thomas Edison by way of example:
Vision without execution is hallucination.
To close his address, Mr. Case took a panoramic picture of the festive setting before him at Kenan Stadium.
He promptly tweeted the photo with the hashtag #UNC2013 for all his 593,769 followers to see who will be “taking over the world.” I daresay that gesture solidified his connection with his intended audience.
Governor Bob McDonnell
The Honorable Robert F. McDonnell, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, gave the address to the graduating class at VMI.
The core of Governor McDonnell’s speech focused on his “Timeless Rules of a Happy Life.” As a father of five children, a husband, veteran and public servant, Mr. McDonnell surely has seen enough of life to pen the following with credibility:
• Life is precious, and it passes quickly. Plan ahead but live each day to the fullest.
• Use your God-given talents to serve one another. Follow the Golden Rule.
• We live in a great state and nation, but their success depends on personal involvement. Democracy is not a spectator sport. Support democracy and keep it alive in the USA.
• In America, you can do what you want if you work hard and take advantage of opportunities. The American Dream is still alive.
Reverend Melissa Hollerith
At St. Christopher’s School, each year’s Commencement is a recognition of the graduating class’s accomplishments and a passing of the baton to the next Senior Class. I look forward to hearing Melissa Hollerith, Chaplain of the Upper School and fellow Senior Parent, close with her benediction as she did with the Class of 2011:
What you have learned and received, now go and do.
To the Class of 2013, The Gracious Posse wishes you
May 24, 2013