Commencement Remarks

Mark Alan Taggart, Chair of the Faculty
December 15, 2007


Thank you, Chancellor Ballard. Good morning, graduates, families and friends! On behalf of the faculty At East Carolina University, please allow me to extend my heartfelt greetings and congratulations to each and every one of you on this special day!


As Chair of the Faculty, I would like to offer you this sense of perspective.  Throughout your years of study here, we have seen you take on challenges and opportunities.  We have seen you struggle.  We have offered you encouragement.  At times, we have seen your brows furrowed with perplexity.  Occasionally, I have seen frustrations in your expressions, in which you perceive that time itself seemed to stand still.  “When is this class ever going to end?” (You seem to be thinking.) “When, if ever, am I going to get my degree and move on with my life?”


Yes, these past four years could seem like an eternity!  But compare your sense of time with some of the things you have learned here at ECU.  For example, my freshman music theory class is assigned some of the very same counterpoint exercises that have frustrated students for almost a thousand years!  These methods have stood the test of time, and are just as relevant to the music student today as they were back then.  They’ve been around much longer than your average airline, automobile company, or health insurance corporation, and I dare say will still be here after those aforementioned examples, and many others, go the way of the platypus.


Yes, the academy has been around for a long, long time, and, as you move on in your lives and careers, your perspective will change, and your four years will seem like a flash in the pan.  Nevertheless, your memories and experiences during your time here will leave an indelible mark upon you, and will, without a doubt, have an affect on you as you make your choices and seek your path.  One thing will remain with you for the rest of your lives, and that is, on this day, you have now become full-fledged, complete ECU Pirates!  You’ve earned it!  Wear that with conviction and distinction!


Congratulations, ECU Pirates! We, the faculty, are proud of you and wish you well in your many endeavors ahead.