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Greetings to Chancellor George, Provost Cope, Academic Faculty, Graduates and Friends.
We are gathered here for a joyous occasion, one that marks the end of a lot of hard work and sacrifice. We are here to honor all of these graduates for this important milestone in their lives. But first I would like to say something to you that the graduates themselves would say if they had the opportunity to be here at the microphone.
I want to say thank you. Thank you to all of you parents in the audience who have sacrificed to send your graduate to school. You have understood when you did not get a birthday card because your son or daughter was so busy with school, you cooked the Thanksgiving turkey because your graduate had a paper due, you served as baby-sitter so your graduate could study for a test. Thank you for making this day possible.
And to you spouses and significant others out there who were understanding when your graduate was too tired to cook a meal, when you had to run car-pool again or attend soccer practice, when you had to do the laundry one more time - thank you for your sacrifice to make this day possible.
And for you children of the graduates who had to wait until Mom finished studying to get your bath or had to play ball alone because Dad had a test or had to settle for a smaller gift because money was tight - thank you for helping Mom or Dad get through college. It is all worth it.
Going to college is a family affair, and you all deserve praise and recognition for this great achievement. So, let me say thank you to all of you.
I want to tell you a story about a clockmaker. Once upon a time there was a small town. The town consisted of many houses, a few shops, and a large factory at the end of the road. Most of the people in the town worked in the factory. In the center of town was a clock shop. The clock maker was very proud of his shop, he had big clocks, little clocks, cuckoo clocks, alarm clocks, you name it, he had it. But his pride and joy was his large grandfather's clock which stood proudly outside at the front of his store.
One morning, he noticed a young man stop in front of his store and look at the huge grandfather clock and then proceed on down the road. He really didn't think much about it. The next morning the young man was back, and the next and the next. The clockmaker began to take an interest in the young man and watched him. The young man would stand in front of the grandfather clock and look at it for a few seconds and then look down at the ground and then up at the clock and then down at the ground, and then leave. It was curious, but he did not seem to be bothering anything, so the clockmaker resumed his work. However, the young man kept coming, for days, a week, a month, every day he came to the clock shop. Finally, this had gone on for a year and the old clockmaker just could not stand it any longer. What was the young man doing, stopping out there every morning, looking up at the clock, down at the ground, the old clockmaker had to know. So the next morning, just like clockwork, here comes the young man. The clockmaker went out front and greeted him, "Hello, I am the clockmaker."
"I know," said the young man, "I see you here every morning."
"Yes," said the clockmaker, "that is what I want to talk to you about. I don't mean to be nosey, but what in the world do you do out here every morning?"
"Well," said the young man, "Obviously you do not know who I am. I work at the factory at the end of the road. I have a very important job there. In fact, I guess you could say that I have about the most important job in the factory. I am the one who blows the whistle. I blow the whistle when it is time to come to work and when it is time to leave. I blow the whistle when it is time for lunch and when it is time to return to work. It is very important that I blow the whistle at exactly the right time or the company or my fellow workers could lose money, so I have to have the exact time. That is why I come by here every morning. I figure who would know the exact time better than the clockmaker. So, I come by here every morning to set my watch by your big clock."
The clockmaker scratched his head and began to smile. He looked the young man in the eye and said, "Well, if that don't beat all. You say you blow your whistle by the time on that clock. And every day, I set that clock by the time you blow your whistle."
What does this mean to you? When you graduate and go to work, you are going to have expectations of yourselves. You are going to be working with people who have been out of school for a year, five years, 20 years. You will watch them do things quickly, efficiently, easily - and as you struggle to do the same things, you will begin to ask, "What's wrong with me? Why can't I do this? Why does it take me so long?" I urge you, don't set your clock by their whistle. Do not judge yourselves by the actions or abilities of others. Give yourselves time to become experienced, that is what experienced means. Keep a positive attitude. Be your own best friend. Don't expect miracles. Have confidence in yourself and in the education you have received. You are well prepared.
In a scholarly setting like this, it is always a good idea to quote some famous person. So, I want to quote from a famous philosopher, Larry the Cable Guy, whose favorite saying is "Git 'er Done!" Yes, I think that Larry the Cable Guy has a great philosophy, it is truly time to "Git 'er done!" You have received your education, you have the support of your friends and family, you are an eagerly-awaited commodity by the aging workforce out there - you are ready to get on with life. So, I congratulate you on your outstanding achievement and I say to you, go out there and "Git 'er Done!" Thank you.