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Commencement – August 2009

We’ve turned the tassels … read the names … shaken the hands … and taken the pictures. Now comes the time to say goodbye.

I know you are anxious to see your family and friends, but I would like just a few minutes before you go. I want to tell you that I am proud to be your president. I want to invite you to keep in touch and to be active Penn College alumni.

I want to be able to congratulate you when you achieve your dreams …and to call upon your input and support as the College moves into the future.

You go into the workforce and into the world ready to make a difference.

The co-founder of Apple Computers, Steve Wozniak, is quoted as saying, “Wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.”

I hope that your Penn College experience unlocked many doors for you.

You spent years among smart men and women – faculty, staff, fellow students, alumni, and working professionals – who came into your classes, and mentored you during internships and workplace experiences.

Because you had opportunity to interact with these people, you know more now than you did on your first day of classes.

You developed new skills, explored new technologies, and embraced new ideas that changed the way you view the world.

More doors are open to you because smart people cared enough to help you gain the knowledge and experience you need to succeed.

I want to challenge you to continue that legacy. I want you to become the next smart person who opens a door for someone else.

I hope you see yourself as a smart person. Certainly – because you now hold a college degree – others will see you this way.

You are a leader. You are a role model. What you choose to do with the rest of your life will influence others – your family, your friends, and the people you work with in the future.

As you put your degree to work, I hope that you remember that your life and your choices make a difference.

It’s not enough … for you to do … just enough to get by. We all expect more from you.

In every career field, there is the opportunity for excellence. There is the chance to stand out from the crowd … to be the “go-to” person who gets the job done right, acts with integrity, and really makes a difference in the workplace. You should be that person.

We’ve all heard about the challenges that 2009 graduates face, as you enter the job market at a time of economic recession.

Employers have limited resources. When they hire or promote, they need to be very sure they are making the right choice. “Just good enough” will not be “good enough” to secure the best jobs.

I know many of you already have a job or are weighing job offers. Others are still looking. There are opportunities out there for each of you. You must be willing to find the open doors and prove your value to potential employers.

Yes, these are challenging times. But history teaches us that challenge promotes opportunity. Many successful companies started during the Great Depression: Motorola, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox, Texas Instruments, Revlon, La-Z-Boy, even the Pittsburgh Steelers. Believe it or not, Fortune magazine first published just four months after Wall Street collapsed in 1929.

Once again, in 2009, American entrepreneurs will use the challenges of this recession as inspiration to develop new companies and products that will breathe new life into our economy. You will be part of the American recovery.

Engaged, enthusiastic humans are the greatest source of renewable energy in the world. Believe in your potential. Search for the open doors. Make your degree work.

I am very glad that you made a choice to walk through the open doors of Pennsylvania College of Technology.

I am proud that you persevered and earned your degree. I feel certain that degree will open many doors for you in the future.

Robert Collier, a 20th century motivational author, said: “You can do anything you think you can. This knowledge is literally the gift of the gods, for through it you can solve every human problem. It should make of you an incurable optimist. It is the open door.”

Congratulations. Go into the world with confidence and optimism … and open the doors of opportunity wherever you go.

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