OU-WI Graduates Speak at Commencement

Posted by Paula Paine on July 7, 2014 in "Your OU" Closing a Chapter, Opening New Doors
Excerpts from the commencement speech by Sarah Shoults ’14 WI
Sarah-Shoults-2.jpgMy name is Sarah Shoults and I am so very proud to be standing here talking with you all today. I’ve grown personally and professionally as a result of my Ottawa experience. I’ve gained valuable knowledge, confidence, and friends along the way. I’ve learned to think critically and look at issues from different angles. This experience has me believing that my thoughts can truly make a difference.  
A wise man once told me that every life is made up of chapters, just like a book. The best part is that we get to choose in which order our chapters appear, and it is important to have our book contain all of the chapters that we would want. Most of us here had our college chapter later in our book of life, attending as adult learners. Maybe our marriage chapter or spouse’s college degree chapter was before it; maybe our chapter on children was longer than we originally envisioned. But, in the end, this chapter in our book is now completed, and it is an awesome accomplishment!
I don’t have a Japanese art chapter in my book, but if I knew origami, I would fold an extra copy of my diploma into a key. That is truly what this piece of paper is. For all of us, this is a key to doors that may not have had been opened to us before. As we submit resumes, ours will no longer be sorted into the pile without the degree. We will be considered. Promotions, or new job opportunities are now more achievable.
Whether you are graduating today with a bachelor’s or master’s degree, you can close this chapter with pride. Perhaps you will return for a second degree in the future, or maybe you will take the education you have and land your dream job, but no matter what you do, take your origami key and open new doors. Follow the golden rule of treating others as you would like to be treated. Collaborate with, learn from, and help others. Go out there and make it count!
Congratulations classes of 2013 and 2014!
Degree of Engagement
Excerpts from the commencement speech by Pablo Fontan ’14 WI
My name is Pablo R. Fontan, and I proudly represent the many voices of this graduating class of 2013 and 2014.
This commencement ceremony is paramount because today we are graduates of Ottawa University. Yesterday we were all students struggling and working hard toward a goal. Tomorrow we will be among the few who are privileged enough to call ourselves alumni and contribute to Ottawa’s legacy of significance. Like many of my classmates, I chose Ottawa University because of its mission . . .
Throughout my time at Ottawa, these are two quotes that always stuck with me. First, Aristotle. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” Also, C.S. Lewis. “The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
We have a responsibility to our community and to our world, no matter our majors or aspirations. We must not solely focus on selfish ideals, prestige, or aspirations of grandeur; rather, we must continue to challenge ourselves to be civically engaged. Life after college should not be about living sedentary or quiet lives. The challenge is to take the connections we’ve made, the facts we’ve learned, and the interests we’ve honed over these past several years and to do something relevant and positive with them.
Remember that Ottawa has helped to prepare you to live lives of significance. It is now up to you to take the next step in your journey.
Thank you very much. Muchas gracias, and congratulations to the graduating class of 2013 and 2014.