Graduation Speech and Charge to the Graduating Seniors at 10th Commencement Ceremony of AUN, May 19, 2018.
Good morning again. It is with great pride that I welcome you to our campus and our 10th annual Commencement Ceremony.
American University of Nigeria is based in the Northeast Region, but it is intended to serve all of Nigeria, Africa, and beyond. Our academic programs are grounded in the liberal arts and emphasize critical thinking. Our learning community is dedicated to diversity and tolerance; so all viewpoints are considered and debated. We don’t just teach; we transform. Students enter our university as eager learners, embracing a discovery-driven mindset. They exit the university as entrepreneurs and innovators, ready to assume professional and national leadership.
Graduates, we are here today to celebrate your achievement with your teachers, families, and friends, and to welcome you to our Alumni College. Today is the beginning of your moment, of your now. Graduation is the beginning, not the end; graduation is your golden ticket to change the world. I want you to make your dreams at least one size too big, and grow into them.
Today, you are turning the page by graduating, but turning the page is not the same thing as writing the next chapter, which is what you must do. Your future is in good hands -- your own. There will be times when your heart talks to you. These will be your moments of truth, and when your heart speaks, you must take good notes. Being a person of value is more important than being a person of achievement. Please remember that while many people can figure costs, far fewer people can measure values. I urge you, don’t simply become something, but be someone, and that someone should be your character and deepest values played out in your daily actions. You are human beings, not human doings. What you do in this world should illuminate who you are as a human being.
It has been said that you are the generation that can close the gap between dreaming and doing. Your civilizations courses at the university have taught you that there are moments in history where civilizations redefine themselves. I believe we are standing in the middle of one right now. When the next history books are written, what do you want them to say about you, about this re-defining moment? We have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference, and as the President of American University of Nigeria, I charge the graduates to take up this challenge. This is your turn to write the next chapter, to add your voice to the narrative, in solving the pressing matters of this time. You are ready.