Chancellor's Recent Speeches

Convocation
Fresno State University
School of Education and Human Development

5/19/00

Thank you, President Welty.

To all of the families, friends, and members of the Fresno State family who are joining us here today -- welcome. And to our graduates -- congratulations.

I want to talk very briefly this morning about a simple three-word phrase. They say that some of the most important messages in our language are only three words long:

"I love you"
"Let me treat"
"Time for dinner"

Plus you have every graduate's three favorite words:

"And in conclusion."

But there's one very important three-word phrase that this degree has now enabled you to use. Those three words are, "I can help."

With your degree, you can now help students -- both young and old -- master the skills that they will need for a lifetime. You can help children or adults learn to read -- one of the most important skills a person can ever learn. You can help students who have special learning or counseling needs. You can help schools provide better service to their students and communities.

Those three short words, "I can help," can mean the world to a student who is struggling -- or to a school that is lagging -- or to a community that is in crisis.

With the degree you receive today, you will not only be able to help people, but you will be able to help shape the future. Our state's future depends on its ability to educate its students for the workforce and the communities of tomorrow.

"I can help" -- Those are incredibly powerful words.

That's why we say that this degree has "empowered" you to do some of the most important work for our future.

Today, I hope you take the time to thank those people who have helped you along the way. Remember, you didn't get here by yourself. Let me ask you to stand up and thank your families and friends, your teachers, and the rest of the Fresno State family with a round of applause.

I especially want to congratulate one of your faculty members, Dr. Gail Tompkins, who is one of this year's recipients of the Provost's Awards for Excellence in Teaching. That award says a lot about this school's emphasis on high quality -- and about its emphasis on helping people become the very best they can be.

I also want to praise two people who truly know what it means to help others: Jan and Bud Richter, who have established the generous Richter Awards. These awards will enable the School of Education and Human Development to honor the people who make this such an outstanding institution. Thanks to the Richters for their generosity and goodwill toward this university.

And in conclusion...I will leave you with five short pieces of advice I like to give to graduates:

1. Call home often;
2. Read good books;
3. Always check your bag before you leave the drive-in window;
4. Don't pay your Visa bill 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 helping people and helping communities. Best of luck, and congratulations.

 
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