Thank you Master of Ceremonies. Buenos días a todos. Yo sé que hay algunas personas presentes, algunos padres, lo cuales no hablan mucho Ingles. Les quiero dar las gracias por estar compartir este dia tan alegre con nosotros.
Dear members of the Albizu University Board of Trustees, Madame President, faculty, family and friends, and of course the reason we are all here today you the Albizu University Class of 2015—
I want you to know what a great honor it is for me to be here in this happy day.
This is one of those special days when we walk around with a smile in our face;
When we hug and kiss those around us with the sincerity that often eludes us in our otherwise busy lives;
When the past literally takes a back seat and the present and future merge into one.
For many of us the world feels bigger, brighter, better today than we have felt before.
Faculty are happy to see that their efforts have helped prepared a new generation of competent and dedicated citizens-professionals.
Students are happy for having achieved an important milestone in their life and perhaps for finally getting rid of their pesky teachers.
Administrators are happy that they made it possible for students and faculty to grow together while avoiding stepping on each other’s toes.
Spouses are happy to get their husbands, wives, and partners back full time into their life journey—just in time to hand out candy on Halloween, mow the lawn, change the baby diapers, paint over that awful wall in the living room, and fix the toilet that has been leaking water since 2012.
Parents are happy that the bets they placed on their children have paid of—at least until they realize that they are not really getting any money back.
Well Albizu Class of 2015, I am the one person that is keeping you from fully enjoying what may be the happiest day of your life.
Right now it is between you and me.
I realized while preparing these comments that the longer I talk the more I extend your tenure as Albizu University students. I bet you had not thought about that ah?
Fortunately for you I do not wish to do that. Instead, I want to briefly share with you in the jolly spirit of the day what I consider to be 3 core C’s of happiness, before ending with humble request for a promise to yourself.
The first C of happiness is: CONNECTEDNESS
- Happiness is more often than not a collective achievement. Although the feeling of happiness is personal, the genesis of happiness is better accomplished through our meaningful connections with others in our lives.
To illustrate this I would ask that you please indulge me for a moment.
How many of you (students, family, friends, faculty, Trustees) brought cell phones with you today? I want you to take them out and if they are off please turn them on. Now, I want you to take a selfie and post it on your Facebook account. It you have a twitter account you may also twit your friends. Tell them that this is a very happy day in your life. If you are a student tell them that today you are graduating from Albizu University. Parents, relatives, friends, faculty, and trustees, tell the world that you are at the 2015 Albizu University Commencement Ceremony celebrating the accomplishments of your daughters, sons, spouses, friends, and students.
PLEASE GO AHEAD TAKE THE SELFIES AND SEND THEM NOW
THAT WAS FUN WASN’T IT?
Now let’s talk about the 2nd C of happiness: CARE
- Happiness and care can be seen as two sides of the same coin. Caring for others is an antidote for selfishness and insensitivity, which are as you know sure pathways to personal distress and the destruction of others. When we care for others with authenticity we transcend the limitations of our perspective and see the world through the eyes of the other. When we care for other persons their happiness becomes essential to our own.
Now, I would like to ask you to please indulge me one more time.
I want now the graduating students to turn to person next to you. Please face each other in pairs. Look at each other for few seconds and please make sure that if the cap of the person in front of you is a bit twisted you offer to help fix it up. If the cap looks fine please let them know that they look good and ready for graduation. Please take a moment to congratulate each other for graduating from Albizu University and let the other person’s happiness becomes essential to our own.
The third C of happiness that I will share with you today is: CITIZENSHIP
- There is no true happiness where our humanity and dignity are not affirmed. I believe that citizenship is our ability to intentionally affirm our humanity and dignity in all we do.
The great American poet Maya Angelou said:
“I am convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere. For a change, start by speaking to people rather than walking by them like they are stones that don’t matter. As long as you are breathing, it is never to late do some good.”
Many of you are now professionals, experts in psychology, mental health, social services, business, and education. For your happiness and the happiness of those you will serve it is important that you remember that you are always citizens first and experts second.
To close my remarks I would like to ask you (in the words of Christian Larson, Your Forces and How to Use Them) to make the following promise:
To be so strong that nothing
can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness, and prosperity
to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel
that there is something in them
To look at the sunny side of everything
and make your optimism come true.
To think only the best, to work only for the best,
and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others
as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past
and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times
and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself
that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear,
and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
To think well of yourself and to proclaim this fact to the world,
not in loud words but great deeds.
To live in faith that the whole world is on your side
so long as you are true to the best that is in you.”
Thanks for your attention and congratulations!