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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A public service announcement (ECW, part 5)

Today marks my one-year anniversary as a graduate of Emory College. And this time next year, I’m sure the Class of 2011 will celebrate their very own commencement anniversary, as yesterday marked the culmination of four years of hard work. Sleepless nights and long days spent studying in the library seems worth it for this one moment where everyone is celebrating you.

The Class of 2011 will leave a lasting legacy on the Emory University campus. President Wagner commended the graduating students for their devotion and commitment to causes important to them and their future.

As President Wagner pointed out, this class is graduating at a very special time. Most of all, the time for young leaders is now and change is a certainty in our world, all points that Emory’s 166th Commencement keynote speaker, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano 11H drilled into graduating students minds.

Napolitano began her speech praising the students for what they’ve accomplished, and encouraged graduates to use the energy, intellect and creativity gained from their Emory education in public service.

She challenged the Class of 2011 in her speech yesterday. “The time is now,” she assured graduates that seizing opportunities in local communities and in government will make a difference in our changing world. She spoke a lot about public service, citing examples of everyday minds coming up with solutions to many of our country’s problems. She hoped that the current state of politics wouldn’t deter graduates from considering a role in government. “Do not fall for a cynical view…government has always been loud,” she said. “You shouldn’t be afraid to dive in. Emory has prepared you.”

Though this wasn’t my day, I hope as the Class of 2011 accepted their diplomas yesterday, three things from Napolitano’s speech resonate with them: Emory produces some of the most innovative minds and leaders with diverse talents in the world, the University’s commitment to sustainability is one not seen on many other college campuses, and in our 175-year history, we have yet to suffer a defeat on the football field!

--Tania Dowdy 08Ox 10C, online services specialist, EAA

Watch Janet Napolitano's Emory Commencement address:

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