Fellow graduates, honored guests, faculty, administration:
We, of Cedar Community College, are many nations. We are men and women, husbands and wives, parents. We are young and not-so-young. Behind the face of every graduate, and just as distinct, is a different story, a different reason, and a different use for the education for which we have assembled this evening to recognize. We serve to enrich the campus community, as we are not just a cross-section of this nation, but of the world. Displayed in the Brier Hall cafeteria are 50 national flags to signify our cultural heritage here at Cedar. Yet regardless of our diverse origins, we come here bound by a common thread: to acknowledge to ourselves and to others that we met and overcame the challenges needed to achieve this milestone. This great gift of education we entitle ourselves better prepares us for challenges yet ahead. There isn't one among us who hasn't made sacrifices, or know of someone who made them on our behalf, so we could be here this evening. For many, this ceremony marks the end to a long journey in our educational goals. For others, this is just the beginning.
We have learned to appreciate what value Cedar Community College has brought to our education. We are a community unto ourselves, seeking to better understand the changing world around us. However, we are not only graduates of a two-year institution but have additional responsibilities in our respective worlds. Many of us have children who look to us for support and guidance, we have spouses in whom we trust our love and share our needs, and we are personnel to employers who seek our expertise and enterprise. It is for these causes that the community college was created, for these reasons that Cedar has provided opportunities to further an education we may not have otherwise and has supplied us with tools to promote ourselves to the world. Some of us have been here to increase our value to our current employers, some to become more marketable. Yet regardless of our reasons, we have increased...