Here is the full text of Sally Gutschow’s August Commencement address:
What would I want to hear at a graduation speech? Not how hard I’ve worked – that’s a given. Not how this is the start of something new – that’s a given. I would want someone to “wow” me, to tell me something I haven’t thought of before.
Then I started thinking how surreal this commencement experience really is. We’re together here today, sharing the same excitement; but, the differences in our celebrations are infinite.
Some of us come from a long history of college degrees; some of us are making family history. Some of us got here with stellar grades; some of us are breathing a sigh of relief we actually passed that last final. Some of us already have “real” jobs and a pile of work to do on Monday; some of us are thinking, “Oh man, what now?”
Whoever you are and however you made it to your seat today – Congratulations! Your parents, spouse, children, family, friends, teachers and advisors are proud.
Do you remember the first time you walked onto campus and thought, “I’m a Maverick!”? Neither do I. So what will you remember about your time here at UNO?
I’ll remember the 1st day of the semester, taking notes, following along – just to find out I was in the wrong classroom. I’ll remember the friends I’ve made, especially the ones I met on one of those crazy last minute road trips. I’ll remember staying up all night studying for the wrong final, then truly understanding the meaning of the phrase “wing-it” the next morning.
It’s true that planning projects, writing essays, studying for exams and perfecting presentations have landed us here together today. But it’s our experience as Mavericks –the first-rate instructors, the organizations, the leadership opportunities and the professional learning environment - that have really shaped who we are.
Maybe the road was more curved than straight, and there were probably more mountains than hills to cross. But through all of our trial and error, through all of our highs and lows, we’ve learned to think on our feet, to double check everything and to nurture relationships that will last a lifetime. And most importantly, we’ve learned to trust ourselves. Because no matter how we managed to get things done, we did it. We’re here. And as long as we carry our Maverick Mojo, there is nothing we won’t accomplish!