‘Create Your Own Magic to Stir the Souls of Others’
Esteemed honoree Valerie Mosley; members of the board of trustees; faculty and staff; distinguished guests; families and friends: it is my distinct honor to welcome you to the 103rd Undergraduate Commencement Exercises at Bentley University. We are glad to have you here with us, together, today.
And to the Class of 2022, congratulations and welcome to your special day. Since you first gathered as a class four years ago, getting to this moment was your collective goal. Today is the culmination — and the celebration — of your years of hard work. I want to give a special welcome to today's graduates. I also want to acknowledge, as I know you do, those who supported you during this journey. Would you please join me in thanking your friends and your colleagues, but most especially your families for their support and guidance during your time with us at Bentley University?
This is an especially auspicious celebration. You all are the first class to cross this commencement stage in three years. During that time, the world we knew has changed profoundly — and so have each of you.
That’s not entirely surprising. You’re meant to change during your time as a student. But the Class of 2022, especially, has experienced profound change. Halfway through your second year on campus, the world as we knew it abruptly stopped. And all I’ll say about this period is that you all supported and protected one another, in every sense. Your life changed, and you changed the lives of others. And now, you made it to the finish line. We are very, very proud of each of you.
As you know, this is my first commencement as Bentley’s president. I came to Bentley because of my belief in the power of business and the marketplace and because of my belief that Bentley University has no interest in educating the mind at the expense of the heart. I came to Bentley because this education challenges students to recognize — and harness — the openness, unpredictability, complexity and ultimately, the value that capitalism can bring around the world. But most of all, I came to Bentley because of my belief in you and your ability to go out and make a positive and lasting difference in the world.
You have set new benchmarks for what can be expected from a Bentley student. You were there for one another when times were tough. And you remained steadfast in your pursuit of knowledge, not letting isolation or quarantine impact your responsibilities in or out of the classroom. I can think of no more deserving group to honor and celebrate in our first commencement back on campus than you, the Class of 2022. You have proven that you were up to the task, and you should be proud of how you have succeeded in the face of so many extraordinary challenges. I speak for each professor, staff member and administrator at this university when I say that Bentley is proud to have you as a member of our community.
And our hope is that as you progressed at Bentley, you realized the transformational possibilities that result from sustained exposure to differing points of view. We have intentionally exposed you to ideas and experiences that will enable you to discern between what is right and what is easy, and to recognize that with the privilege of the education you’ve just received, comes a responsibility to a greater good.
As William Allen, the former Chancellor of the Delaware Court of Chancery some years ago stated, and I quote, “One of the hallmarks of a truly dominant intellectual paradigm is the difficulty people have in even imagining an alternative point of view.” I hope that as you transition from Bentley that you will at least on occasion imagine such an alternative worldview, and more importantly, your role in creating it. We accept at Bentley the premise that doing well and doing good are in fact, quite intuitively, aligned.
I want to share one final thought. A speech that Stephen Covey, the late management expert, gave during a ceremony not unlike this at Marquette University several years ago included three sentences that still seem to me profound. He said, and I quote, “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.” We are not fundamentally a product of nature or nurture. We are fundamentally a product of our choices to both nature and nurture, and we can decide deep within ourselves what represents our own true north.
Class of 2022, I hope that as you transition from Bentley that you, too, will have the privilege to create your own magic that stirs the souls of others and that in doing so, you will find your own true north. We are endlessly and deeply proud of you and will watch with great anticipation to see the powerful impact you will have on the amazing group of people you come in contact with and in your work ahead. Congratulations, and enjoy your day!