Purdue News

December 19, 2004

Purdue graduates more than 3,000 at winter commencement

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University President Martin C. Jischke today (Sunday, Dec. 19) told new graduates to take a lesson from history in their quest to forge ahead in their careers and in their life, citing the Lewis and Clark expedition as an inspiration.

Jischke spoke to approximately 3,055 candidates and their family and friends at two commencement ceremonies in Elliott Hall of Music. This was the university's 194th commencement.

"This is a proud moment not only for our graduates, but for the families and friends of our graduates who have joined us for this celebration," Jischke said. "No success is ever complete unless we share it with those we love."

Jischke compared the journey that the graduates are beginning to that of early American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark when President Thomas Jefferson commissioned them and their Corps of Discovery to explore the new Louisiana Purchase territory.

"Today this graduating class forms a 21st century Corps of Discovery of your own," Jischke said. "You are taking off on an expedition even longer and even more adventurous, arduous – and exciting – than the one undertaken by Lewis and Clark 200 years ago.

"You are beginning a journey to your future."

Jischke told the new graduates that their diplomas were not only proof of the hard work and success from their time spent at Purdue, but also a symbol of the responsibility they have to share themselves and their talents with others who are in need. But he acknowledged the difficulties they might face.

"Like Lewis and Clark, you will at times find yourself in confusing, mysterious and even frightening places," Jischke said. "But don't turn back. History is replete with the regrets of people who gave up, not knowing their goal was just beyond the next hill."

Jischke described the author Robert Hastings' vision of life as being on board a train heading for a final destination. Hastings wrote that the true joy of life is in the trip.

"Success for members of the Lewis and Clark expedition was far more than reaching the Pacific Ocean and finding a safe way home," Jischke said. "Their ultimate success was in everything they discovered, every day along the way."

The morning commencement included students in consumer and family sciences, education, liberal arts, management, science, and veterinary medicine. The afternoon ceremony included students from agriculture, engineering, pharmacy, nursing and health sciences, and technology.

Laurin E. Brey, from Dixon, Ill., was the student responder in the morning ceremony. She graduated with a bachelor of arts degree. Brey recalled the day she became a student at Purdue, and she challenged her peers to give back all that they have received from their Purdue experience.

"Our diplomas will open the door to opportunities that will be financially beneficial," Brey said. "Will our Purdue diploma be a source only of revenue and pride, or will it open our eyes to the positive difference we can make in this society?"

Timothy S. Healy Jr., from Kings Mills, Ohio, was the student responder for the afternoon ceremony. He received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering.

Healy asked his fellow graduates to consider how to use the enthusiasm of the day to transform possibilities into realities. He encouraged them to share their knowledge, skills and talents.

"It is not only if we share but how we share," Healy said. "If, in this sharing, we are enthusiastic, if we are passionate, if we are living deliberately, we will not only have a greater impact on this world, but we will also improve our own lives."

Commencement videos for the West Lafayette commencement will be available to new graduates, their families and friends. The video costs $25 plus $5 postage and handling. Order forms are available from the Loeb Playhouse box office or by calling (765) 494-3933.

Writer: Maggie Morris, (765) 494-2432, maggiemorris@purdue.edu

Sources: Martin C. Jischke, (765) 494-9708

Laurin E. Brey, lbrey@purdue.edu

Timothy S. Healy Jr., tim_healy6@hotmail.com

Melinda Gardner, assistant registrar, (765) 494-8219

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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