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Undergraduate Commencement, 2015

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Rebecca Chopp

Speech  •

Congratulations once more, Class of 2015, to you and the family members, friends and mentors who have supported and counseled you along the way. I hope you are proud today of how you have grown during your time here and excited for the opportunities that lie ahead.

Addressing a graduating college class, President Woodrow Wilson, told the young audience before him, “You are not here merely to prepare to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

As I have gotten to know many of you during my first year at DU, I have grown quite confident in the ability of DU students to enrich the world. Through informal conversations and meetings with student leaders from across campus—athletes, artists, heads of campus organizations, volunteers serving our communities—I have reached the conclusion that DU students are the ones who are going to run our city, nation and world in the years ahead. And I am comforted by that because I have seen your passion and your ability to get things done.

Think back, if you will, to the beginning of your college journey. Think about the ways you have changed. Think about the courses that have opened your mind to new possibilities; the friendships that have exposed you to new music, new cultures, new perspectives; the study abroad experiences that provided a new lens through which to view the world.

If DU has done its job, we have provided the resources to ensure your intellectual and personal growth during your time here. As you begin your next chapter—whether it’s in industry, working with nonprofits or government, or pursuing a graduate program—you do so as alumni of the University of Denver. Selective private colleges and universities like DU open untold opportunities for you. Although you and your families have worked hard to make this day possible, attending DU has been a privilege not afforded everyone.

Our nation and world look to your creativity, intellect and critical reasoning; your skills and knowledge; your compassion and leadership as you take on new challenges. You combine a path-breaking spirit with intellect, ethical judgment and a desire to seek solutions. You will enrich the world, and you will make your alma mater proud.