Commencement 2013: Read The Alumni Greeting By Carol Oliver Hartman ’86, President of the CMC Alumni Association

I hate following the Latin address.  Greetings, class of 2013, friends, loved ones, and distinguished guests.  Your families are extremely proud of you today.  But what you might not know is the profound sense of relief that they are also experiencing.  A relief borne from the fact that you’ve fulfilled their steadfast trust, that you’ve come through four of the most enlightening and challenging academic years of your life, and you now have a diploma to prove it.  And a relief of the end of tuition payments.  You might have even topped off the financial injury with a dorm damage bill.

As an executive search consultant, I’m in a good position to know talent when I see it.  Sitting in front of me right now, I see huge potential.  Every day I assess capability and leadership at the most senior levels of corporations, and if any group of people is equal to the challenges facing our society today, it is you.  I have loved getting to know so many of you during your time here, and I hope you will continue to stay involved with the college.

While I adored living in North Quad, my classes, my friends as a student, it has been an amazing experience to serve as the Claremont McKenna College alumni president and as a trustee for the last two years.  Your relationship with the college can grow too.  There are so many ways.  You’ll immediately be asked to participate in Forum for the Future.  I encourage you to do that.  There are alumni events.  You’re now qualified to mentor students.  You will find that coming back to Claremont McKenna College really does feel like coming home.  And you know that there are homemade Rice Krispy treats in the Athenaeum every day at 3:00.

You have likely heard me say this before.  There are no shortcuts.  Continue to work hard and master what is in front of you, and there are other lessons that may have already come to you.  Be authentic, responsible, fair, transparent.  Shortcuts are tempting, but rarely worth the trade.  You must be also careful with your personal brand.  And finally, be patient for your success.  It will come, and you actually have to be prepared through real-world experience to know your right time.  And your time at CMC will be among your finest memories, but your future is even brighter.

A prime benefit of CMC is the network that you become a part of today.  The Claremont McKenna College Alumni Association is a very special club, with members that span generations, and we will always take your call.  We will reach out to colleagues, employers and friends on your behalf, and we’re always there to help young CMC alumni make the most of their potential.  An important part of the resources that you have as an alum is visible right now, all around you.  Look to your right, left, back and forth.  They are your classmates, your teammates, your best friends and soon to be fellow alumni.  Shamelessly take advantage of each other.  It is a one of a kind network that will be there for the rest of your life.  CMCers tend to be breathlessly ambitious, but success is really all about the connections that you make.  Who you work with, who you love, how you improve the lives of others, this is truly how you are measured.  So stay connected with each other through chapters, there are 19 of them all over the world.  Show up for events, there are more than 200 every year.  Use social media and come home to your reunions.  I am sure that students in the future will welcome you back as you all welcomed alumni two weeks ago.  I doubt you had more fun than we did, but you tried.  As you move forward, you’ll find that the spirit of CMC, this connectivity is precious.  There is something special about our alumni.  This place changes us, or validates who we are.  However it happens, you’ll find that this group of people is unusual.  And you will learn to recognize it in the real world, because there is truly a difference.

I said to a loved one recently that I don’t know if I’m on this earth for another two days, two years, twenty years.  But what I can control is how I spend that time.  Embrace each other, challenge each other to be better, and I did not say more successful.  And don’t race for the finish, enjoy the journey.  So, the alumni association is a resource for you to continually renew your relationship with your CMC family.  Congratulations, class of 2013.  We share the confidence that you have in your future.  Welcome to the club.