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John K. Treinen
photo by Tim Fitzgerald

Campus Involvement, Personal Growth Focus of May 2010 Commencement Remarks

John K. Treinen, a Ralston native, presented the following student commencement address May 7, 2010 at the Civic Auditorium. He graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in business administration. He is currently studying abroad in London, and will begin working full time at TD Ameritrade this summer.

Wow. There are a lot more of you out there today than there were in my speech class.

But without the higher education that I've just completed at UNO, I think I'd feel much more overwhelmed up here today.

I want to thank Chancellor Christensen, Dean Pol from the College of Business Administration, and all the professors, such as Dr. Jonna Holland, who have paved the way for me to stand up here, as a speaker and as a graduate of this university.

And thank you, President Milliken, Regents, distinguished guests, family, friends, and graduates -- for being here. I'm excited to share this monumental moment with you.

For the last four years my home away from home has been the UNO campus, where I've studied marketing in the College of Business Administration.

But we are not the same people who sat in desks and scribbled down notes when we began our college careers. It all felt so new when we began at UNO, taking baby steps through a minefield of core classes.

Since then, I've filled up my head with concepts like the four Ps of marketing, AP writing style, fiduciary duty, supply and demand, art history… and I even took a class on how to manage my subsequent stress.

I've also learned that sometimes you might have to camp out the night before to get a parking spot.

We have seen change in the university and in the world, we've seen growth, we've seen renovation. I will barely miss the opening of the outstanding new Mammel Hall, home to the College of Business Administration.

We've put in our time in the library and pulled all-nighters with only our wits and cases of Mountain Dew, right? Living through all of this has been part of the college experience.

But our experience here has been about more than facts, figures, and finals.

What about everything outside the classroom?

What about relationships?

What about figuring out who we are… and who we want to be for the rest of our lives?

In my time here, I've experienced firsthand the positive effects of learning with so many diverse people, and have become friends in the process.

Between a cornucopia of clubs and extensive internship possibilities, it's been rewarding to apply what I've learned. Looking out at all of you, I bet I'm not the only one who can go on and on about this.

We've made a difference through service and community outreach, such as Habitat for Humanity and donating canned goods, and we've learned about so many other worthy causes. We've had a blast at UNO sporting events and the future of UNO athletics is certainly something to be excited about.

Everything I just talked about has been part of the UNO way of life, the "Maverick Mojo." Why fight it?

And, the amount of opportunities and support available to all of us here has been tremendous.

Because of this school, I've been able to travel to Washington DC, I'm able to go to London next week, and I have a career lined up when this is all over. I'm proud to represent UNO, and I hope you can all say the same.

But why is all this important? What steps do we take from here?

Clint Eastwood has said, "The secret to life is to never stop learning. Never think you've got it all."

What I think it all comes down to is this: Our time here -- and life in general -- is so much about the knowledge we can accumulate…about people, places, and ideas, and how to put that knowledge to use in our own ways.

This education that we're here to celebrate doesn't mean anything unless we apply it.

So on a day as momentous as today, it's hard not to wonder what's next.

Our city and our world are influenced by UNO graduates.

And now, that includes us.

Can you imagine all that will come after today?

Can you imagine all that we will go on to accomplish?

Four years ago, someone close to me took me aside and said, "John, I hope you enjoyed high school, because in college, you're going to school for what you'll do with the rest of your life."

And here we are! I wish you all great success as you navigate the minefield of life.

But now, instead of baby steps, we're taking giant steps. So let's go out and build the future!


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