Chancellor's Recent Speeches

CAMS Graduation Ceremony
Carson, CA
6/8/00

Thank you very much.

To all of the families, friends, and members of the CAMS family who are joining us here today -- welcome.

And to our graduates -- congratulations.

You are a unique group of students with enormous talent.

You have worked incredibly hard to get here today -- and you deserve to celebrate.

In fact, the last thing you probably want to do is to sit here and listen to a long speech. So I will keep this short, sweet, and to the point.

I have one simple three-word message to share with you tonight. Those three words are, "You are needed."

I hope you know how much your families and friends need you. You are bright, hard-working, dedicated, and enthusiastic. You enrich the lives of everyone around you.

But I'm also talking about how much your community, your state, and even your country needs you. We desperately need you to share your incredible talents and skills, especially in math and science.

You might have read about a time back in the 1950's and 1960's, when our country's leaders said that we were a "nation at risk" because of our lack of trained mathematicians and scientists. At the time, our big fear was losing the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

Now, our country is at risk once again. Except this time there might be even more at risk than losing the Cold War.

This time, our country is at risk economically. And the losses that we might sustain if we do not prepare more students in mathematics and science could be far more devastating than any Cold War.

We know that the economy of the 21st century is going to be built on knowledge-based industries, with a heavy emphasis on technology. And if we want to build a strong economy -- and a strong society -- we must prepare enough graduates who have the skills to succeed in those positions.

So our country desperately needs more talented students who can understand mathematics and science -- students just like you.

How great is this need?

Here's one example -- One recent study showed that only one percent of graduating college seniors around the country are math majors. This is a sign that we are not laying the groundwork for students to build mathematics-related careers.

Here's another example -- One recent study showed that Silicon Valley had a high-tech employment gap of 160,000 positions. That gap is expected to grow to 200,000 positions by 2010. That's a major shortage of qualified, talented workers. And that shortage is bound to hurt our state.

Here's one more example: On Tuesday, Bill Gates and Andy Grove, the chairman of Intel, told Congress that our country is in a "state of emergency" in terms of math and science education. They said that the lack of skilled American workers will eventually slow the growth of our technology industries and the economy.

So when I say "You are needed," I mean it in the best possible way.

You have extremely valuable skills.

You are in demand.

You are a "hot commodity."

I hope you realize this potential. I hope you will apply yourselves to the next step in your education. And I hope that you will find ways to share your many talents with your communities.

I also hope you take some time today to thank the people who helped you get where you are today. Remember, you didn't get here on your own.

I want to thank all of the people at CAMS and at CSU Dominguez Hills who have teamed up to make this school such an incredible success.

This school is an important model for other institutions, and I hope that more universities will copy the CAMS model in the future.

Before I close, I would like to share five short pieces of advice that I always give to graduates.

The five pieces of advice go like this:

1. Wherever you are, call home often;

2. Continue to read good books;

3. Always check your bag before you leave the drive-in window;

4. Don't pay your Visa card with your MasterCard;

5. Don't pierce anything you can't hide in a job interview.

I'm sure that if you follow this advice, you'll do OK.

I wish all of you a lifetime of success and fulfillment in sharing your talents with your communities, your state, and your country. And remember, "You are needed."

Best of luck, and congratulations.


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