Spring Commencement

May 19, 2018

Good Afternoon,

Welcome Miami University, Class of 2018!

It is my great pleasure to welcome you and your guests to our 179th Spring Commencement.

I would like to thank Alexandra Rose Hotz, Class of 2018, who so beautifully sang our National Anthem, and our ROTC Units who presented our nation's colors today.

We are deeply grateful for the dedication and courage of those brave women and men who are serving our nation in the armed services and those who have served in the past.

Will all our veterans and all those currently serving in the United States Armed Forces, please stand if you are able to be recognized?

Thank you for your service to our country.

Welcome Miami students, families, friends, faculty, staff, and esteemed guests with us today. Welcome to those viewing this ceremony live on the internet.

Today, we celebrate our diverse and unified Miami community, especially these new graduates who are joining the worldwide network of more than 220,000 Miami alumni.

To the Miami University Class of 2018—We are so proud of you! In the language of the Miami Tribe, our namesake, toopeeliyiiki, meaning accomplishment—part of our heritage at Miami. That is what you are doing when you graduate today—celebrating a meaningful accomplishment that you will carry the rest of your life journey.

Miami Class of 2018, please stand if you are able, and remain standing. Before we look ahead, let’s look back—to the people who helped you get here. Let’s take a moment to recognize all of the parents, family members, and friends here today—who read you your first book aloud—who drove you to band or soccer practice—who pushed you to study a little bit harder in high-school physics.

Look around and find those special family members and friends. Now join me in a big round of applause for all those who supported you during your journey here at Miami.

Please be seated.

Four years ago, you came to Miami as diverse individuals—from different geographies and races—from a wide variety of cultural and economic backgrounds. Some were first in their family to go to college; others were fourth-generation Miamians.

You probably were a little nervous—not sure how you would fit in. How you would do academically. Where you would find new friends. How you would navigate your classes. How you would choose your major. What your future would be. All of sudden, your outlook was not so crystal clear. Everything was new and different.

Today, you will leave with those same unique personal differences. But now you have become part of a proud Miami family. For four years, you have lived, studied, learned, and even played together. As you leave here, we celebrate what unifies us—and we celebrate our differences. Those differences are the reason our Miami family is so strong.

This is what it means to be a diverse and inclusive community—accepting each other as individuals, respecting each other’s beliefs, finding strength in our differences—as one Miami Family.

Each of you has found your own space to grow and learn—and to succeed and excel. You have heard me talk about the term "inclusive excellence"—a lot. To me, it means that every Miami student finds that space, with the support of the Miami family. That spirit doesn’t go away. It will continue to propel you to greater success and satisfaction in your career and your life.

The same thing will happen when all of you go your separate ways. Your Miami experience will always lead you in the right direction. You are well prepared and ready. You have benefited from the support system of your family and friends, and Miami University. We are all proud of you. We look forward to celebrating your successes for years to come.

I leave you with this. One of my favorite lines of our alma mater: "Sturdy Hearted, Pure of Soul." This describes the Miamian—the person that you have become. You do not waver in the face of difficulties and challenges. Failure was just a stepping stone to success in your journey. You embraced it with humility and advanced toward your goals with optimism. You do not stand by and watch others act. You stand up for what is right and care for all your fellow Miamians. You achieve. And your achievement is not for your benefit alone. You find meaning and purpose in service, not selfishness. You achieve without calling attention to yourself—with deep humility—as our motto declares. You have led the wonderful life of generations of Miamians in this place. You are Miami.

Love and Honor!