August 28, 2012

Commencement Speech 2012 by Mark C. Williams

Thank you, President Pantic!

Finally! The 26th of August, 2012. It’s been a long time coming, but we’ve made it!

I’ll be honest, I never thought about delivering this commencement speech until a couple of months ago. Lying in bed because I couldn’t sleep, I started reflecting on my four years here, beginning with Freshman Orientation way back in the summer of 2008.

To my surprise, I was randomly grouped with one of my best friends from back home that weekend. Later that summer we received and opened our housing assignments. In a classically bromantic moment, when we realized we would be living across the hall from one another, I thought to myself, “This is going to be a wild four years.” Looking back on that moment, I realized “wild” couldn’t even begin to describe the past four years and the transformations that would take place. So I’m standing here today to remember.

While the adjective “wild” was sometimes applicable in describing our transformation, I think that what college really boils down to is a series of everyday activities. Daily and nightly routines that happened over and over again, moments that you don’t realize are changing you forever until days like today, when those moments suddenly become memories.

The routine of eating the giant do-it-yourself waffles in the MassArt cafeteria on Saturday mornings today becomes a memory of forming the first friendships of our adult lives.

The routine of spending long nights and weekends studying for Professor Hasso’s project management exams today becomes a memory of learning what it really means to be accountable for your own success-and your own failure, transforming us into adults.

The routine of learning how to do Professor Sumner’s average end method (which, let’s be real, I could still probably use a liiiittttle help with) today becomes a memory of being persistent, driven, focused, a transformation we couldn’t have imagined during freshman orientation.

As much as we yawned, whined, griped, and sighed during those routines and the all-nighters that accompanied them, today, those moments become memories, and we can look back and know they were worth it because they transformed us into who we are today.

Regardless of our majors, when we look back on those memories, the backdrop will look the same for all of us - our campus, turned construction site. We followed roundabout routes to walk to class; we studied in modulars. We watched the design and construction develop for two renovated facilities.

The campus transformation paralleled our transformations, from incoming freshman to graduating seniors. We walked through the Wentworth doors in August of 2008 as individuals; like our campus, we have been reconstructed, renovated, changed for the better, and we’ll walk out as a group, a class, a family.

This transformation, from individuals to a bonded class, is what makes Wentworth a unique life experience that can never be replicated. However, another transformation occurred over the past four years. While we at Wentworth were forming and strengthening new and lasting friendships over weekend waffles and delirious late night study sessions, society as a whole was becoming more and more reliant on technology as a means of interpersonal communication.

Now don’t get me wrong, the technological advancements have provided countless benefits and conveniences to society. We’ve all had our fun with Facebook and Instagram; our military has increased its strength and protected the safety of its members with newly developed drones; advancements in energy strategies have helped preserve the earth we inhabit.

We all went to a school with a technology-based curriculum because we knew the role that technology would play in shaping the future. Well, the future is here, but I know I’m not the only one who has noticed the lack of “old school” communication as a result of integrated technologies. It’s unfortunate that we send emails or make phone calls to colleagues just two cubicles away. It’s a little bit sad that so often when we communicate with one another it’s only via Twitter and text messages. I’m guilty. You’re guilty. So what are we gonna do about it?

If I may, let me leave you all with some advice; let’s take what we experienced in our Wentworth family and expand on it. Make that extra effort to stay in touch more personally.

Show, and tell, others how you feel in person. How many times have you almost walked into traffic while looking down at the phone in your hands? Yeahhhh, you know who you are. Instead, take the time to notice those around you.

Let’s take what we’ve learned about relationships here at school into our jobs, into our families, into the world. Keep your character and show people who you are.

Let us never forget the friendships forged during those all-nighters, Saturday morning waffles, and the transformations we’ve all gone through.

Before I go, I’d just like to say thanks to my mom and dad, my five siblings and Nicole for helping me through these past four years - you helped make them some of the best of my life.

With that, congratulations to the Wentworth Institute of Technology Class of 2012!! Good luck in all your endeavors and, to quote the legendary Carly Rae Jepsen…”call me, maybe?”

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