Welcome and Goodbye

Today, I graduated.  So very exciting!  Following some interest from my friends, I thought I would share my welcome remarks.  It was a nice opportunity to share my thoughts before saying goodbye to SILS.  Enjoy!

Image c/o Nuno Pinheiro & David Vignoni & David Miller & Johann Ollivier Lapeyre & Kenneth Wimer & Riccardo Iaconelli
Image c/o Nuno Pinheiro & David Vignoni & David Miller & Johann Ollivier Lapeyre & Kenneth Wimer & Riccardo Iaconelli

Please be seated.

Good morning. It is my pleasure to welcome graduates, family, friends, faculty, staff and administrators to the Fall 2013 School of Library and Information Science Commencement Ceremony. Today, we will watch and celebrate as graduates are awarded Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees.

Some of today’s graduates have been at Carolina for years – the four years that it typically takes to complete a Bachelor’s degree. Others – myself included – have paused here for a year or two to complete a Master’s degree. That said, we have all chosen to come to Carolina, and to SILS, for some time, to receive an exemplary education that will launch us to the forefront of our professions.

In my two years at SILS, I have seen my peers and instructors make tremendous accomplishments. Some of my classmates have earned national and international travel awards taking them from Chicago to Cairo. Others have presented scholarly research at the meeting of the Association of Information Science & Technology, the American Library Association’s annual conference, and even the White House. Professors have received funding for programs like the CRADLE project and WiderNet, and have earned more commendations than I can list. This is a productive and prestigious program, and each of us has the privilege to have been a part of it.

Even with all of these accomplishments, I suspect that today’s achievement of graduation is perhaps the most exciting accomplishment of all for graduates. It is the summation of years of hard work: of frenzied reading and writing, of survey-collecting, of data analysis. Of frustration and celebration, and more than a few personal crises. Today is the product of tremendous successes, and probably a few mistakes. Today is a rite of passage…and a call to action.

In a few minutes, we will be graduates of Carolina’s School of Information and Library Science. Our responsibilities will change, as will our roles in the information field. During your studies here, you have consumed knowledge at a prodigious rate, and commented on it at length. You have been critical, and you have been complimentary. Now the tables will turn, and you will add to the body of knowledge that those who follow you will consume and comment upon.

You will all do this in a variety of places. Some of you will continue on in your education. Others will become teachers. Still yet, the majority of us will leave the Ivory Tower and work in information technology centers and libraries alike. That future is daunting, but it is also exciting. It is a chance to fuel the future of everyone who comes after us, if we can sustain the energy and passion that inspired us as students.

To this end, I want to invite you to take a moment to reflect not only upon your accomplishments, but on the passion that fueled you as you reached them. Reflect upon the goal that you started out with, the somewhat-hazy and impossible dream that inspired you to begin your studies here. That passion, and that dream, is what will keep you going as you create a legacy not only for yourself, but for Carolina, for SILS, and for the people who came here to watch you graduate today.

It has been a delight to be a part of this community for the last year and a half. I offer you all my best wishes, and my thanks.

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