Marianna Walker, Chair of the Faculty
Thank you, Chancellor Ballard.
Good morning and welcome to all graduates, faculty, families, friends, and special guests! I am Marianna Walker, Chair of the Faculty. On behalf of the faculty at East Carolina University, congratulations on your accomplishments that have led to your graduation today from this great university.
Whether you are receiving a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, you are both ending and beginning phases in your life. Reflect on those positive entities in the last four, five, or maybe even six years that have changed your life, attitudes, interests, and goals. Think back to the person you were when you arrived at East Carolina University. How have you changed? Have you become a leader? Have you learned to appreciate diversity in many different realms? How would you describe your character? Will you pursue a graduate degree? Have you taken a different professional path than previously thought?
Regardless of your degree and course of study, the faculty are hopeful that you will leave the university with a scholarly appreciation of the arts, sciences, environment, health and well being, and a sense of leadership. Personally, the faculty are hopeful that your academic experiences at East Carolina University have enriched your character, enhanced your tolerance and understanding, expanded your interests and perspectives, and developed your integrity.
I encourage you to think of one or two faculty who really made a difference in your life at East Carolina University. Reflect on how these professors shared their knowledge with you, and made you realize the importance of problem solving, organization, time management, discipline, and team-building. As you leave East Carolina University, consider how you will be a mentor to others, in the same way you were mentored here at ECU. May you always have a sense of engagement and service to your communities. How will you enrich the lives of others? Will you give others a voice, when needed? How will you contribute to society? How will you approach problems and consider solutions, regardless of the situation?
I encourage you to be loyal to your alma mater, to follow the university’s growth and progress in academic programs, research, service, and athletics. Come back and correspond with the university and visit and keep in touch with a favorite professor or two! We want to see how successful you are! You will always be a part of our university family.
Navigate creatively through your world, but remember to focus on making a difference in all that you do. Speak intelligently, but remember to listen and alter your perspective whenever possible. Be a leader, but lead with respect, integrity, and dignity. Continue to learn and remember to teach. And of course, follow your dreams.
Best of luck, to all of the graduates of 2009, and always remember that your favorite colors are purple and gold!!!!