President Kennedy’s Concluding Remarks
President Robert A. Kennedy
Since this is my last commencement as UMaine’s president, I feel a special connection to the Class of 2011, and I would like to pass along one personal observation to today’s graduates.
I know this to be true: You leave UMaine truly educated and prepared to achieve anything. The UMaine experience, in the classroom and beyond, rivals that of any of our nation’s great universities and it exceeds most.
Be confident and self-assured, be willing to take some risks, and you will find that you can compete with anyone, anywhere.
Your predecessors have exemplified the UMaine ideals of work ethic, integrity and commitment. They have become leaders around Maine and beyond, achieving success in every pursuit. You will leave here today emboldened by their example and enriched by your experiences, prepared and eager to achieve at the highest levels. I have no doubt whatsoever that you are destined for great success in life, and I wish each of you the best.
We trust that your years at the University of Maine have prepared you for the challenges ahead — challenges you will face in your careers, in your personal lives, in your enjoyment of life, and in your contributions to your community. Just as there are benefits to being an educated person, there are responsibilities.
Take full advantage of your learning experiences here and apply those lessons in ways that give something back to others.
And finally, please remember that you are, and always will be, a member of the University of Maine family.
We hope your time at UMaine has inspired in you a lifelong passion for learning and a concern for the future of our state, our country and our culture.
There is power and responsibility that comes with your education. Use it to make the most of your life, to enrich the lives of those around you, and to return the gifts that have been bestowed on you to the society that bestowed them.
Just weeks before I graduated from college, a terrible event shook our nation. The assassination of Martin Luther King took from us one of the most courageous and influential people of modern history.
But Rev. Dr. King left behind a treasure trove of meaningful quotes from his brilliant oratory. One of his comments rings particularly true today: “Take the first step in faith,” he said. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
The state of Maine and the University of Maine salute you as you take that first step, members of the Class of 2011.