The Department of Kinesiology & Health Sciences would like to welcome the class of 2014 to the growing family of our alumni. Of the 90 students who graduated from our department this year, 78 of you attended the graduation ceremony along with 3 Interdisciplinary graduates on May 11th. The day began at William & Mary Hall where the main commencement ceremony was held and where Medal of Honor recipient Leroy Petry delivered a commencement speech with one of the points he brought up was viewing obstacles as opportunities. Also, briefly speaking at the ceremony was U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Anton Scalia. The students then moved to Adair Hall where degrees were handed out while around 600 family and friends looked on. During the department ceremony Taylor Hodge was named as the Kinesiology & Health Sciences Major of the Year and gave an acceptance speech describing her experiences while majoring in Kinesiology & Health Sciences and doing research in the department. When the proceedings concluded, everyone was invited to stay and share in some hors d’oeuvres and drinks. People enjoyed mingling – and hugging – and taking lots of pictures. I would like to thank the graduates who supplied me with pictures from graduation.
Michael Deschenes' Ceremony Speech
Thank you all for coming today to join us in celebrating your sons’ and daughters’ achievements for the last four years. You have already attended the main graduation event in William & Mary Hall where you listened to other speeches, so I’ll try to keep my comments here brief. First, I would like to especially thank all the Moms in the crowd for allowing us to share your special day. I used to always feel quite guilty about having our graduation on Mother’s Day until someone recently pointed out to me that there probably could be no better Mother’s Day gift than to watch your son or daughter receive their diploma from William & Mary; I realized this was likely to be true and I hope that you Moms see it that way, too.
To all our newly minted graduates, you should be proud of the degrees you are about to receive. It took a lot of hard work to get to this point and to be honest, we mean for it to be difficult to earn a William & Mary degree. The more you invest of yourself into earning the degree, the greater the value it will hold for you. And because of the cost in time and effort that you have invested, this degree is something you will, and should be, proud of always.
I would like to point out for you, however, that the most important lessons you have learned while here at The College were not from the powerpoint presentations that we made to you in class, nor in the textbook readings we assigned to you. Instead, the most important lessons you have learned during your time here were about yourselves. While arriving at this point you learned that you had a resilience that you may not have been aware of. You learned the value of patience, combined with perseverance, in achieving your goals. You also learned that you could take a shot, and keep on going. When you got bumped off track, as we all do, you learned that it would not send you completely off the edge and over the cliff, but rather it would be a temporary setback and that you would simply brush yourself off and get back on track to resume the pursuit of your goal. You found that there was always a little more fuel in the tank; you just had to dig a little deeper or try a little harder in order to get yourself through a rough patch, say finals, or to meet project deadlines.What you learned during these four years is more than just the proverbial “skill set” we hear so much about these days. A skill set can be used only in your professional life and just for a specific job. No, what you learned about are your personal qualities and they are far more valuable and enduring than any set of specific job skills. The important lessons that you have learned here at William & Mary will be useful to you in your academic, professional, and personal lives. They will help you succeed in the real and important challenges of life. They will help you be better sons and daughters, better husbands and wives, and some day they will help you be better fathers and mothers. None of the truly important things in life will come easy –they shouldn’t - but because of what you have learned over the past four years you will be able to succeed in these important matters. And you should know that succeeding here at William & Mary will give you the confidence you need to succeed throughout the rest of your lives. Remember, the best predictor of the future is the past! The next time you hit a rough spot – and you will – you’ll remember that you’ve made it through rough patches in the past and this will give you confidence that you somehow manage it this time. You may have suffered a fat lip or a bloody nose, but you found a way to get through it until the path smoothed out again. That is the key to success, staying after it even when the going gets rough. Now take those lessons that you learned here over the last four years and go out and be successful, however you define success, with your lives beyond William & Mary. Give yourselves one more round of applause for what you have learned and the people you have become!!