Sunday, June 14, 2015

They came from across the globe

This was a very special commencement weekend, as UC Santa Cruz graduated its 50th alumni class. Commencement is one of my favorite times every year, because it reminds us of why we are here. It reminds us why we do the work, why we put in the long hours, and why we deal with the thousands of tough moments and tough choices that arise every year.

The culmination of so many sacrifices

As I sat on stage today, I looked out at the hundreds of faces full of pride and excitement as they came to support their graduates. Families and friends came from across the country, and in many cases across the globe, to descend upon this little spot in the Monterey Bay. They brought noisemakers and posters and big smiles. But most importantly, they brought with them a unique story. Their stories speak of countless sacrifices and struggles. Their stories speak of love for their graduates. As the graduates walked across the stage and their names were read, many also included words of thanks for these family members and friends. There were thanks given to those in attendance and thanks given to family members who had passed away before this moment arrived.  These graduates are full of gratitude and they recognize that this moment was not given, rather it was earned.

Hundreds of proud families and friends
It can be bleak to read or watch the news these days. It can leave you with a feeling of unease about our world. However, one need only spend a few moments at one of our commencements to be filled with hope and optimism about our shared future. These students leave here equipped with the skills needed to ask the tough questions and solve the world's greatest challenges. They leave here with confidence in their abilities and gratitude for the tough lessons learned during their time at UCSC. They leave here having been taught the principles of community and why they are critical to our society. They leave here Banana Slugs.

The Principles of Community flew high over the
Commencement activities

I am grateful beyond words for the BAS team members who played a role in the commencement activities this weekend. You made a difference!

A slug I am,


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