“We say to all of you, to our friends and our families, to our future and everything that seeks to block it, our destiny is greatness.”
This year’s incredible Commencement speech was given by Nick Christian, one of PhilaU’s star scholar athletes who is moving to Florida to begin his career with Comcast. In my 21 years in higher education, this was the first time I saw a student speaker receive a standing ovation for his or her remarks at a commencement.
What Nick emphasized in his speech, and what I discussed in my own Commencement remarks, was the importance of commitment. I discussed commitment in life as represented by five ideas: brushing your teeth, shining your shoes, being on time for every appointment, working hard, and believing in something greater than yourself. The first four are just metaphors, but they reflect PhilaU’s belief in the importance of dedicating oneself to a purposeful life. This purpose comes partially from investing time, energy, and passion in a career that creates value for your community and yourself. At PhilaU, we prepare students for those careers by giving them real-world experience, problem finding skills, a focus on solutions, and a desire to improve the human condition. A PhilaU education both prepares students to be professionals in the field of their choice and empowers them to be leaders.
Aside from a commitment to work, we also have a commitment to maintaining the strong bonds of friends and family, who are there for us when we most need support and love. Last Thursday night, at our Board of Trustees educational event, we were thrilled to celebrate the 50th wedding anniversary of David and Lillian Rea. David is a PhilaU trustee and a very dear friend. We presented them with a textile made by Marah Light ’14, who received a B.S. in Textile Design. It was a jacquard design inspired by the symbiotic relationship between flora and fauna, and the gold in the design was a fitting tribute to David and Lillian’s “golden anniversary.”
As president of Philadelphia University, I am always so honored to be a part of the PhilaU family and partake in milestone events such as these, and I am grateful for all I have learned and experienced as part of this family. I wake up each day excited to see what wonderful things will be happening next.