Governor Kitzhaber, President Gottfredson, honored guests, graduates and family members. On this graduation day we gather to celebrate the University of Oregon Class of 2014. We look forward to great things and we look back on the time in your life that you may well remember as the best time you ever had … especially six months from today when the student loans come due.
But I’m just kidding, of course. There are many good ways to pay off your student loans.
But as I look out over this sea of faces, I’m reminded of the day that you came to campus for the very first time. For some of you that was four years ago. Others five years ago. Some six. A few of you we urged to leave in a different sort of way.
But regardless of how long you were here, you all have two things in common. You got a fine education from a fine institution and that fine institution will hound you to your grave for contributions.
But remember when you arrived? You knew that you had made the right choice? You found out that we were friendly.
And you found out via some of your friends from high school that not everywhere are folks as welcoming as they are here. Why just 45 miles north and a century or so back in terms of human evolution, incoming freshmen were greeted with a different kind of sign.
But you were safe in the bosom of the University of Oregon. We gave you a cool song to sing.
And you didn’t know how lucky you were with that song. You could have gone to Georgia, Florida State or Alabama, where this would have been your song:
Pretty soon you made friends that you knew you would keep for life. You learned how to dress to display that special taste of Oregon Duck class.
And before you knew it, you were a real Oregon Duck.
Now the day has come that we have to say goodbye. We will always cherish the time that we have spent together as part of the on-campus experience at the University of Oregon. Please leave your gown in the designated spot. You are welcome to keep you cap and tassel. Let’s see, have I forgotten anything?
Top image by oakhalli.com