Master's Commencement 2012

Remarks by President John F. Schwaller
May 19, 2012

As I look around and see those of us in the stage party right now — alumni, faculty, three remarkable students and distinguished members of the College’s leadership — while we may have some fancy robes, colorful hoods, and even funny hats up here, we are NOT the main attraction. The stars of today’s ceremony are you, the 170-some Masters recipients of the Class of 2012!

And let me tell you this: I can hardly wait to see the things that you will accomplish or in the words of Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go!”

Starting today, starting now, you have the opportunity to do creative and wonderful things with your lives. And I know each and every one of you will define a future uniquely your own.

And let me tell you this: You have me on the edge of my seat.

How do I know this?

I know this because you have families and friends who have supported your success. None of us can do it alone and we are so fortunate to have our families and friends by our sides. Let’s thank your family members for all they’ve done.

And starting here, starting now, we’d like you to consider Potsdam a part of your family, as you join the ranks of our 38,000 alumni around the globe. Remember as you leave us today and go out into the world, we are by your side.

I know that you will create your own unique future because you have had excellent teachers and mentors and you have the advantage of an outstanding graduate education, immersed in a culture of creativity in every discipline.

You have had the benefit of learning side-by-side with:

  • accomplished experts in organizational leadership and technology;
  • with authors, poets, theorists and linguists;
  • with careful and considerate mathematicians;
  • with talented music performers, composers and historians;
  • with master teachers who share their expertise and excellence in  pedagogy;
  • with field experience leaders who are the backbone of education  in the North Country, and
  • with the role models from all areas of campus who go beyond to  challenge you to do more both in and out of the classroom.

The leadership of our excellent faculty and staff is at the heart of the SUNY Potsdam education, and I know that they are so proud of you today. Let’s thank the faculty and staff for everything they have done.

I know that you will go out and create a unique future because you have already done amazing things.

  • You are the future of education in New York State and beyond, and  through your student teaching experiences many of you have benefited districts  throughout our region.
  • You influence the lives of young people in Northern New York,  Canada, and abroad.
  • You are working professionals that are enriching your ability to  contribute and enrich the lives of others. That’s not easy, but you’ve  done it and you’ve succeeded.
  • You are already hard at work in the classroom, whether you are a  teacher, or a mathematician, or a literacy specialist, a composer or a  writer. The rigor here is what prepares you for your next step.
  • You’ve already gone above and beyond.

Put simply, you are AMAZING, and that is just scratching the surface.

How do I know this?

I know this because your predecessors prove time and again that a Potsdam education prepares students to act as engaged global citizens and to lead lives enriched by critical thought, creativity and discovery.

Our master’s alumni represent an incredible diversity of careers. They are CEOs, performers, artists, local business owners, innovators, world travelers, veterans, philanthropists, and life-changing teachers—and education is the root of that.

Notice that our graduate alumni are not all teachers, but they are all educators in one way or another. Like them, you will end up being innovators because of your education background.

Put simply, like YOU, they are amazing.

So finally, I know this:

As Potsdam nears the close of her second century, you will take the lead in shaping her third century. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.

You have me on the edge of my seat.

Good luck, and remember to keep in touch with us, your new family here at SUNY Potsdam. Congratulations to you all.

Do well and do good.