Commencement 2013: Read The Charge To The Graduating Classes From President Pamela Gann

So in closing, Chairman of our Board Harry McMahon, trustee and commencement speaker George Roberts, Chief Academic Officer Gregory Hess, distinguished faculty, friends, family, and most of all, the graduates of the class of 2013.

So, the last few weeks of this semester, the students who are graduating have celebrated many achievements, from the champagne toast at Flamson Plaza after the morning of completing senior theses and turning them in to Elizabeth Morgan, to the hooding ceremony earlier this week of our very fine Master of Finance graduates today, and to this morning, where we commissioned United States Army officers who are graduating today.  So, enjoying your last days on Parents’ Field, or Green Beach, or the Athenaeum, or just hanging out anywhere around campus.  So you do have much to celebrate, but not just among yourselves.

We want to extend your celebration and recognize some others in our audience today.

I would like the class of 2013 to also recognize all of the parents of the graduates who are here today.  Would you please stand, so that we can recognize you?  Please.  Thank you.  We thank you, parents, for entrusting your wonderful sons and daughters to our care, to provide a fine liberal arts education.  And now today, we present them back to you.  But I think they will have changed a lot over these past four years, and hopefully you agree they’re being returned to you as educated young men and women who have matured and developed with purposefulness about their next steps in the world.

We couldn’t have this great college without the extraordinary judgment, commitment, time, talents and philanthropy of the Claremont McKenna College board of trustees who are here today, and I would like to thank you for all that you do for the college.  Please stand and let us recognize you as well.  There’s no finer board of trustees in the United States, at any college or university today.  We’re greatly indebted to you.

And where would you be today if you hadn’t gone through all of the obstacles and travails that have been placed in front of you by your faculty?  But really, they are so talented as teachers and scholars, they are so committed to a fine liberal arts education in your behalf.  They have let you enter into their lives, to see their passions about their fields of knowledge.  You’ve worked with them in their classrooms, you’ve worked with them in their laboratories.  You’ve worked with them in research institutes.  You’ve worked with them on committees for your senior theses, and so much, much more.  But they really have provided you your CMC education, and I would like you to acknowledge our very fine faculty today.

And the next thing I would like to do is follow up the remarks of Carol Hartman as president of the CMC Alumni Association, because now, as graduates of this college, you have become the newest members of our alumni community.

Now, you’re joining an illustrious group of individuals who are dedicated to your personal futures.  And just pause a moment, you now have an alma mater, Claremont McKenna College.  Those words, alma mater, refer to your college as your mother.  That’s indicating that through obtaining a CMC education, we are with you throughout your lives, whether you are physically present here on campus or anywhere else in the world.  They also indicate that like a mother, you will forevermore carry that special, special relationship with us.  So welcome, as our newest alumni of Claremont McKenna College.

Now, just a few closing words.  You do appear very well-rested, well-fed, tan, a few of you are a little red.  You seem mighty relaxed from your recent sojourns, most of you to San Diego.  So, welcome back to campus for the festivities of the last few days and your graduation.

On a personal note, this is my last year as president of the college, and it’s my last time to have the opportunity to preside over a graduation such as this.  It’s been a privilege and an honor.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.

Will the graduates please stand again and rise?  Because it’s time for the charge for the class of 2013.  You arrived here from all around the world, and you leave this campus today as an educated person, ready to lead a responsible and productive life.  You have received, whether undergraduate or graduate student, a Claremont McKenna College education, a liberal arts education to prepare you, as Socrates stated, to lead an examined life, to engage to the fullest extent as a responsible citizen of the world.

You were admitted to an institution seriously dedicated to responsible leadership, and as you go forth into the larger world and society, we expect that you will be leaders and not followers.  Through your leadership, your very fine education will be shared with others.  Yours is both a gift and a responsibility, a call to service, especially with respect to love of your family, your friends, and your country, and to ensure that our global society remains a society which is as democratic and just to all human beings as possible.  You will be called upon to ensure that our nation and other nations work together in a world that permits all of its peoples to fulfill at least some of life’s ambitions.  And each of you, with your CMC education, possesses a tremendous opportunity to help secure liberty and prosperity for humankind and to serve through leadership which is tempered by humility and burnished by grace.

We welcome you into the company of educated men and women around the world.  We bid you our fond farewell as students while we welcome you as our newest alumni.  So hail and farewell.  Please look around at your fellow classmates assembled one last time.  Leave with the fondest of memories of some of the best times in your life.  Think of your college, and all of us whom you leave behind.  Know that you go forth with our warm affection, our pride in your accomplishments, and our very, very best wishes for your future lives.