[SIDE CONVERSATIONS] [MUSIC PLAYING]
Ladies and gentlemen, please rise and join the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club in the singing of our national anthem.
ALL: (SINGING) Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
HEATHER LEVY: Good afternoon. My name is Heather Levy. And it is my pleasure to welcome the class of 2010, families, friends, President Skorton, and the Honorable Nancy Pelosi to convocation and the 142nd commencement weekend of Cornell University.
Today, as the graduation ceremonies begin, we are forced to look forward but have a hard time letting go. We are excited for what the future holds but find it difficult to leave Cornell-- a place where we have formed fond memories and a place that we've called home. We spent warm afternoons on College Town Bagel's patio, spent cold nights cheering for the Big Red in Lynah Rink, and have truly taken advantage of the unique opportunities Cornell has offered us for personal and intellectual growth.
We were able to explore our interests through courses, through club memberships. We were able to meet friends from different places, from different backgrounds, and become part of the greater Cornell community. When we first arrived, Cornell seemed overwhelmingly large. Yet, despite its size, Cornell quickly began to feel smaller.
Soon, familiar faces were everywhere on campus from the Cocktail Lounge in Uris Library to the Statler salad line. This sense of belonging only developed more as semesters passed. We took new courses, moved into new housing, and even studied abroad. And as we did this, despite our changes and experiences, our personal sense of community only grew more inclusive and stronger.
For my fellow graduates, as for myself, this sense of belonging and commitment doesn't end as we toss our graduation caps into the air. Graduation is only the first step to expanding and developing our sense of community within Cornell. As we approach the next phase of our lives, we value the people we have met, the diversity of our experiences, and look forward to joining the network of alumni, all who share our same love and gratitude for Cornell. It is my pleasure to introduce class president, Jeff Katz, to present the 2010 senior class address.
JEFF KATZ: Thank you, Heather. Good afternoon, Ithaca. Thank you to everyone who is here today-- Speaker Pelosi, President Skorton, distinguished faculty and staff, parents, siblings, friends, family, and, most importantly, my classmates, who have ridden this roller coaster of higher education to this, our commencement weekend.
You may be wondering what wisdom a 21-year-old college student has to impart here today. To be honest, I probably don't have too much to offer, unless you want to know the Darcy-Weisbach equation for head loss, what a standard deviation is, or just how long someone can sit in Olin Library without actually doing any work, which is why I'm not going to stand up here and talk about life and the future. No one asked me to do that, and I don't think I'm qualified to do so.
People always talk about crossroads or coming to that fork in the road. I always thought that Cornell was a one-way street to success. Heck, if you can make it through an Ithaca winter, you automatically deserve some kind of merit badge, let alone doing it while studying at one of the top schools in the nation.
Like most of you, I've spent the last four years of my life here-- four years that have gone by, at times, too slow, but mainly way too fast. Maybe we've shared some of the same experiences, or maybe our times here have been completely different. But we are all about to step into the world as Cornell graduates, so I'd like to paint the picture of our last couple of weeks here at Cornell.
Nostalgia has been slowly creeping in, gaining momentum as everything becomes the last of a certain experience. Sure, you might be going on to graduate school, even here at Cornell, but it was still your last Cornell final. And even if you plan on staying faithful to Lynah, it was your last Cornell hockey game.
It was your last Sunday brunch at RPU or Rulloff's. And maybe it's going to be your last time seeing someone. And I continue to say "your," because I'm still in denial.
When we arrived in Ithaca, we came from many different backgrounds with many different expectations. My Princeton Review book told me that Cornell dining was the cream of the crop. But it didn't tell me that I'd be spending the waning hours of freshman year nights gorging on [INAUDIBLE] samplers and buffalo chicken subs.
I thought we would be spending all of our time in the library. I didn't realize that we'd be spending more time commuting to and between libraries than actually studying in one. We witnessed the rise and fall of college town eateries, the rise and fall of Cornell sports teams, and the rise and fall of crane upon crane on campus.
We got to start our Cornell experience with a new Cornell president, President David J. Skorton. We had to walk across the footbridge all freshmen year-- an inconvenience for anyone not in human ecology. We also had the first snow day in a decade, and it ruined everyone's Valentine's Day date plans that did not include sledding down the slope.
As an engineer, I got to see a bridge being built half a mile away from where I sat and learned about stresses and loads on bridges. Cornell provides us with dozens of choices for gym classes, hundreds of organizations to join, and many people to meet. And then there are all the things to do here that are off the beaten path. Climb the 161 steps of the clock tower a little before 6:00 PM, and you might get a chance to play the clock tower chimes.
If you come back to campus later this year or somewhere down the line and it happens to be solar noon-- that is when the sun is at its peak in the sky-- and you look up at the clock that is going to be on the face of Rhodes Hall, you'll see it light up based on a series of mathematical calculations. I mention this because two of my friends had the opportunity to work on that clock-- something that will be here at Cornell for a very long time.
And that's what we-- and by "we," in most cases, I mean our parents-- pay the big bucks for-- the opportunity of opportunity. Cornell has something for everyone. And if it doesn't, then Ithaca itself probably does. The experiences we have and the knowledge we obtain, both inside and outside of the classroom, will groom us to be ready to take on whatever challenges we are to face.
Being surrounded by 12,000 other really smart people allows us to have some of our most intellectual conversations on a Tuesday at 2:00 PM at the Palms. And being constantly surrounded by brilliance just increases our own abilities. For our entire lives, we have been told that we would be the ones left to fix the problems left piling up by previous generations.
As I look out on the thousands of soon-to-be graduates assembled here today, I see smart, determined people, drained from Senior Week but still ready to take the reins of our generation. I don't know all of the people gathered here today. But during my four years here, I've met quite a few people who, 30 years from now when they come up on the news or are talked about in textbooks, I'll say, "Wow, I was at Cornell with that person," as I sip an iced tea on my billion-dollar yacht.
Look around at all of the people in this stadium today. An aggie among us is probably going to cure a disease, even if it's a plant's. An architect might build the home of the future. An ILR-ie is going to make sure everyone has a fair living wage.
Engineers are probably going to do a lot of the real work, solving our energy problem, allowing us to travel safer and faster, designing our infrastructures, cleaning our water-- no big deal. An arts major will provide us with a piece of literature that will be a hallmark of the 21st century, while another enacts legislation that brings the world closer to peace. Someone in HumEc is going to design robes that are cooler and more shapely than the ones we have to wear tomorrow. And a hotelie will make sure the drinks are on ice and delicious when we go out to celebrate these achievements. And so as not to leave out our graduate and professional students, you'll all go on to bigger things and have a fancier degree than us measly undergrads to put on your wall.
I'd like to conclude with the words of music legend Stevie Wonder. "Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there." As I look out onto the proud faces of parents, faculty, administrators, and everyone else who came here today, I can see that they know we have the ability and character to go out into the world and do great things. Congratulations, class of 2010.
It is my pleasure to now introduce the class of 2010 Alumni Co-President, Stephanie Rigione.
STEPHANIE RIGIONE: Thank you, Jeff. Four years ago, we entered Cornell, not knowing what to expect. We heard about the rigorous academics, the never-ending snow, and gorgeous scenery. We heard about the eclectic town of Ithaca, Dragon Day, and over 700 student organizations.
We heard about student assembly, slope day, and failing the wines class. But sitting here today, we can all agree that life at Cornell cannot be found through words in a brochure or rehearsed lines of tour guides. The true experience comes from engrossing ourselves in the everyday life at Cornell.
It comes from faculty dinners on West Campus, runs through the plantation, all-nighters in the Cocktail Lounge, guest lectures in Bailey Hall, arch sings across campus, and so much more. Four years ago, we entered Cornell, not knowing what to expect. Now I realize we should not have worried about what to expect from Cornell, rather what did Cornell expect from us?
Being a Cornellian does not mean having a high GPA or diploma to put on your wall. Being a Cornellian means standing up when action needs to be taken. Being a Cornellian means being generous in every aspect of your time, talent, and treasure.
By seeing the phenomenal success of the Senior Class Campaign, it is evident that our class of 2010 has gone far above expectations. Our class's overwhelming generosity and gratitude to Cornell rings a truth louder than any of the 21 chimes. We have collectively left a legacy that will continue to help our alma mater thrive years after we leave the hill.
Thanks to the generosity of two anonymous trustees, who matched our gifts, we will be leaving an endowed class of 2010 scholarship, benefiting incoming freshmen who otherwise would not be able to attend. This scholarship embodies our campaign slogan, "Start your legacy." It was hope of this campaign to give seniors a great sense of ownership and gratitude in regards to Cornell, because we truly have made a strong and lasting legacy.
I would now like to introduce my co-president of the alumni class, Darin Lamar Jones, to announce our results and show you that our legacy has begun.
DARIN LAMAR JONES: Thank you, Stephanie. It is such an honor to be a member of the class of 2010, because it is, by far, the most dynamic and remarkable class that Cornell has ever witnessed.
While I am sure that the thought of leaving Cornell and our class is a difficult one for many of us at this point, we can all find solace in the fact that our Cornell experience is far from over. We will all be Cornellians for life. Cornell has an extensive array of activities, organizations, and events designed to keep us engaged in the affairs of our alma mater long after we leave the hill.
Through the 85 Cornell regional clubs around the world, class reunions, alumni conferences, and homecomings, we all still have countless Cornell memories yet to form. By embracing our responsibility to stay abreast of the affairs of our university, by reading the Cornell Alumni Magazine and Cornell Chronicle, staying in contact with our professors, advisors, and coaches, and sending President Skorton the occasional email, we will help ensure the continued success of Cornell and all the scholars it has yet to educate.
Truly, our Cornell experience is not ending. It is only now beginning. As Stephanie alluded to earlier, the 2010 Senior Class Campaign results, I am thrilled to report, are nothing short of outstanding. The class of 2010 has broken records across many categories, thanks to the enthusiasm, generosity, and dedication of our seniors. Our goal-breaking 52.3% participation makes us the fourth consecutive class to reach 50%.
And the overall $81,000 that we have raised from seniors alone sets a new record for total gift amount.
With 71 Ivy Society members, the class of 2010 has set a new standard for leadership giving that will not soon be surpassed. We thank the many Greek chapters and athletic teams who had 100% of their seniors participate in the campaign. Finally, I thank my fellow HumEc-ies for having the highest participation rate among the undergraduate colleges, with 55% of seniors contributing to the campaign.
I would now like to ask Stephanie and President Skorton to join me at the podium. Thanks to the 1,700 participating seniors and our trustee challengers, it is our honor, on behalf of the class of 2010, to present this check for $166,051.11 to Cornell University. Congratulations, seniors.
It is my pleasure to introduce the Cornell University Chorus and Glee Club. They will be singing "Abedlied" by Josef Rheinberger. Thank you.
ALL: (SINGING) [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]
HEATHER LEVY: The president of Cornell University aims to make Cornell a model combination of academic distinction and public service. A board-certified cardiologist, biomedical researcher, musician, and advocate for arts and humanities-- please welcome President David J. Skorton, Cornell University's 12th president.
DAVID SKORTON: Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome again, class of 2010, family, and friends-- a first of many congratulations to all of you.
And thank you, class of 2010 and your leaders, for leaving us not only with the wonderful memories and the things that you have taught me and the others at Cornell, but for your generous legacy so that so many more may follow in your footsteps. I want to especially thank these student leaders who are in front of you now for all that they have done throughout their years, and especially during their senior year.
The class of 2010 sought as their convocation speaker someone who has had a profound effect on American life. And in Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, they have found an ideal choice. By all accounts, it was Nancy Pelosi who, after 14 months of contentious debate, brought together the 216 votes needed for the US House to approve the Health Care Reform bill that President Obama signed into law just weeks ago.
In this historic achievement, as with several other pieces of difficult and contentious legislation related to the stimulus bill, greenhouse gas emission, tobacco legislation, and other topics, Speaker Pelosi has demonstrated strong leadership, tenacity, and pragmatic and effective political skills. She is arguably the most powerful woman in national politics today and one of the strongest House speakers in recent memory.
A graduate of Trinity College in Washington DC, a wife, a mother of five, and now a grandmother of eight, Speaker Pelosi did not run for elective office until age 47, when her youngest daughter--
I forgot to brief the speaker about how the president's in charge here. At age 47, when her youngest daughter was a senior in high school. But she grew up in a political household, the daughter of New Deal democrat, Thomas D'Alesandro-- a five-term US congressperson from Maryland who later served 12 years as mayor of Baltimore, as did her brother. The D'Alesandro family was always alive with political meetings and strategy sessions. As Speaker Pelosi has noted, "We were all baptized in the Roman Catholic church and the Democratic Party."
She gave her first political speech at age 7 during her father's mayoral swearing-in ceremony. And although her own career as an elected official began in her fifth decade, she spent her time as a wife and mother in San Francisco deeply involved in politics, including as head of the California Democratic Party. As a dedicated fundraiser for candidates, she oversaw 10,000 volunteers as chair of the host committee for the 1984 Democratic National Convention.
In 1987, Nancy Pelosi was urged to run for a congressional seat previously held by a dear friend who had passed away. And following an intense campaign, she won by the narrow margin of just 4,000 votes. She has represented California's 8th congressional district, the city of San Francisco, ever since.
And one of Nancy Pelosi's first legislative victories in Congress was the creation of the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS program. And she has continued to advocate strongly for those living with or at risk of HIV and AIDS. And for that, we congratulate you.
As a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, she has fought tirelessly for America's families, pushing for increased educational opportunity, for worker protection, and for health care. She has been a strong supporter of increased investments in health research, secured funding to double the budget for the National Institutes of Health, and also helped to increase access to health care for people with disabilities. She served on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for a decade, led congressional reviews of US intelligence and security in the wake of 9/11, and has been an advocate for human rights around our world.
Nancy Pelosi became minority whip in 2001, minority leader in 2002-- the first woman to lead a major party in the US House of Representatives. And she was elected Speaker of the US House of Representatives on January 4, 2007-- the first woman to fulfill that role. Please join me in welcoming Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House, as our 2010 convocation speaker.
NANCY PELOSI: Good afternoon. Thank you, President Skorton, for your very generous words of introduction, your very warm welcome. Thank you for your extraordinary leadership as president of Cornell University.
And I know how proud you are of that role. And you bring so much to it. Just listening to the presentation made earlier about you says that you have a respect for every discipline that is presented here and with great excellence. I know that you love all of the students of Cornell University, but that you have a special bond with the class of 2010, because you both began your journey at Cornell at the same time.
Members of the platform party, what an honor it is for me to be up here with Darin and Stephanie and Heather and Jeff and to hear their words about their class and their school. The trustees, faculty staff, and friends of Cornell University, thank you for the opportunity to be with you today. I know that there are many people here from the Ithaca community and Tompkins County community who are part of this wonderful institution's legacy. Let us all join together and stand and give an ovation to the families, the parents, the spouses, the children, the friends of our graduates today, whose sacrifice and love and good wishes made this great day possible.
To the graduates, the class of 2010, I am honored by your invitation to be your convocation speaker. I'm proud to be here as the first woman Speaker of the House. And since becoming the first woman Speaker, I have found that people are fascinated with firsts. And as I have learned, Cornellians have several firsts of their own-- many of them. Among them are, Cornell was the first coeducational institution in the Ivy League.
Cornell awarded the first degree in the world in journalism and the first doctorates in electrical and industrial engineering.
Cornell was the first to have a College of Veterinary Medicine, Hotel Administration, and Industrial and Labor Relations.
Cornell is the first and only Ivy League institution to also be a land grant institution.
And this year, for the first time in history, the Big Red went to the Sweet 16.
Most importantly. Earlier today, I was very pleased and proud to receive a Big Red jersey signed by the members of the basketball team. So proud was I that I immediately tweeted the picture of it to the world. Today, Cornell is hoping for another big win for the Big Red-- the Cornell men's lacrosse team.
President Skorton told me on the way in, lucky for us that this convocation is before the game so that you are here. But let me say that all week, Congressman Maurice Hinchey and Congressman Michael [INAUDIBLE] have been going around the floor of the House saying, "Go, Big Red." As we gather here today, we are also honoring Memorial Day, where we honor our troops, our men and women in uniform, for their sacrifice, for their courage, and for their patriotism.
Because of them, we are the land of the free and the home of the brave. And as we go into this weekend, we have special reason to observe it, because this week, Congress passed law to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.
I want to thank President Skorton for his courage in organizing other university presidents to send a letter to Congress, urging that repeal. Thank you, President Skorton.
There are many reasons I'm delighted to be here. And one of them is that because Cornell has been home to several pioneering women-- Janet Reno, the first [STAMMERING] woman attorney general. Let me say that again-- Janet Reno, the first woman attorney general.
Not the first, but a pioneer-- Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Also associated with Cornell is the first woman ever to serve in a US cabinet, Frances Perkins. For 12 years, she served in the cabinet of President Franklin Roosevelt. Though she is not a household name, Frances Perkins is responsible for many of the initiatives that affect American families-- the minimum wage, Social Security, and the 8-hour day.
After she left the president's cabinet, Frances Perkins was invited by Cornell to teach at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. Breaking with the conventions of the time, she lived with a group of young men at Telluride House. A much older woman, she held court and inspired a much younger generation. Infusing the next generation with her entrepreneurial spirit, she found a home at Cornell.
Speaking of the next generation, we're proud to have a Cornellian in our family. My son-in-law, Michael Kenneally, received his master's degree in business at Cornell. Also, two of my staffers, Tom Manatos, who's with us today, and Amy Rosenbaum, are graduates of Cornell.
I'm also pleased to acknowledge another person that I had the privilege of working with in a bipartisan way. She was the chief of staff to the Republican leader in the House, John Boehner. Her name was Paula Nowakowski. She was a proud graduate of Cornell. And we lost her, sadly, this year. She was proud of her association with Cornell.
In my travels as Speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers, and kings. But what has inspired me the most and impressed me the most was my conversations and listening to young people. Weren't our young people, Darin and Stephanie and Jeffrey and Heather, wonderful this morning?
As you know best, our graduates, young people are weary of war. Young people want an end to violence, whether it's in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Iraq, the genocide in Darfur. Young people want to address the future, address the climate change crisis, preserve our planet. Young people, especially graduates, want jobs and opportunity.
America has always been the land of opportunity. This has been the source of our greatness as a nation. Opportunity has been the promise to all-- those who are here and those who come to our shores. And opportunity has been our responsibility from one generation to the next.
At certain times in our history, we have had to make a decision to strengthen American opportunity. The Greeks had a word for it-- Ananke. As I have shared with other students, in the classical Greek-- well, I didn't share it with them in classical Greek. As I've shared with them, in the classical Greek, Ananke means destiny.
It also means scarcity. The Greeks were suggesting that times of scarcity drive us to choose a destiny. And those are the moments when history can be shaped through deliberate choices, decisions.
Throughout our history, America has confronted and surmounted each moment of Ananke. To name a few, during our industrial revolution, we decided to give our workers the opportunity to go from the fields to the factories. During the technological revolution, we decided to commit our nation to innovation.
And now, listening to young people, we have decided again in favor of the future. We have decided to build a new prosperity for all Americans. Our new prosperity will be rooted in four words-- science, science, science, and science.
Science and innovation are essential to our new prosperity. And we recognize that innovation begins in the classroom. I hope it gives you some level of hope that we have made decisions in favor of that. And that is why we made a decision to make the largest investment in college aid in our nation's history, lowering the cost of student loans and capping student loan payments, expanding Pell grants, and rewarding those who pursue public service-- become teachers, public health positions and the rest-- with loan forgiveness.
And it is all paid for. In fact, it saves the taxpayer money. Also essential to our new prosperity and honoring science with investments in technology and innovation, as President Skorton said, Congress passed and President Obama signed historic health insurance reform.
The bill itself will create 4 million new jobs. And it will unleash even more jobs and make America more competitive. Health care reform will give you freedom to change jobs, to be self-employed, to start your own business, to be creative and entrepreneurial, and follow your passion to be an artist, a musician, a writer without worrying about the health of your family, because you don't have health insurance.
You can be free. You are not job-locked. You are free to follow your talent, again, without risking you or your family's health.
For young people, for the first time in our history, you are allowed to stay in your parents' health insurance program until you are 26 years old.
This isn't to enable you, to give you time to start your career without having to worry about health insurance. For senior citizens, some of whom may be your grandparents, many of whom here today-- I met some earlier today-- we closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole, which means something to us seniors, and strengthened Medicare for years to come. For all Americans, we ended the day when you can be denied health insurance because you have a pre-existing medical condition.
And that means that no longer will being a woman be a pre-existing medical condition.
As we insure 32 million more Americans, reduce the disparity in care among ethnic groups, now health care is a right, not a privilege. And not only is this legislation paid for, it saves the American taxpayer $1.3 trillion. All that we do, we want to create jobs and reduce the deficit.
Another decision we have made, based on science, is to have a new energy policy to make us energy independent and address the climate crisis. A new energy policy is a national security issue, reducing our dependence on foreign oil. It is an economic issue, fueling our prosperity by creating jobs in a new clean, green way; an environmental and health issue, reducing dangerous emissions and our dependence on fossil fuels. And when we see the economic, environmental, and cultural impact of the tragedy on the Gulf Coast, we know that we need a new energy policy.
A new energy policy is a moral issue. If you believe as I do, that this planet is God's beautiful creation, then we have a moral responsibility to preserve it. We all agree that we have a moral obligation to pass the planet on to the next generation in a responsible way. And a new energy policy is an opportunity to ensure our new prosperity.
As President Obama has said, countries recognize that the nation that leads in the clean energy economy will lead the global economy. We want America to be that nation.
Indeed, in America, we not only have an economic reason, but an ethical responsibility to create jobs. Affordable health care, quality education, and establishing a new energy policy-- these are the pillars of our new prosperity to create jobs. These are our decisions in favor of the future.
These are decisions for our nation, but you will have personal decisions to make. Some have asked-- and they asked me to tell you-- what decisions I made on my path to the Speaker's office. As President Skorton so generously described, when my children were young, I volunteered in politics, but I never intended to seek public office.
What prepared me best to be a leader in Congress, though, was raising my five children. Being a mother of five required discipline, focus, a sense of organization, and, of course, diplomacy. In 1987, when I was urged to run for Congress in my middle 40s--
--at the high end-- I was very honored by the suggestion. But since I had never even thought about running for office, I had to give this some deep thought. And my major concern was my youngest daughter of the five, Alexandra, who was going to be a senior in high school.
I prayed over my decision, of course discussed it with my wonderful husband, and then, very thoughtfully and with great sincerity, approached my daughter, Alexandra. I said, Alexandra, Mommy has the opportunity to run for Congress. But I'm concerned that you have one more year before you go to college. Be better if this happened a year later.
I told her any decision would be fine. I wanted to know what she thought. I could run for Congress, or I could stay home with her.
You already know. My dear teenage daughter looked back at me and said, Mother, get a life. And so I did.
By the way, I had never heard this expression before, it being such a long time ago. So that was a new expression for me. But I did what she wanted me to do. I got a life.
And when I did, I was ready for the opportunity to come to Congress. And when I got there, I was ready to make a difference. People had said to me, you're going to love the Congress, because you love the issues. And indeed, I do and did-- issues relating to the health of our children, the environment, human rights, HIV/AIDS, some of which, as President said, the economy, our national security-- I was interested in these issues.
Those were my studies in college and my interest in life. So when I got to Congress, I studied the issues. I worked to master them. And years later, when I was urged to run for leadership, I was ready.
Cornell has helped to ensure that you are ready, too. The Cornell professor and university historian, Carl Becker, captured the spirit of this great institution when he said, "The Cornell tradition allows a maximum of freedom and relies so confidently upon the sense of personal responsibility for making a good use of it." You have already demonstrated responsibility, making good use of your freedom here at Cornell, organizing your fellow students to vote, bringing help to Haiti, working against poor working conditions around the world, and addressing the global climate crisis.
And you know well that we have a responsibility to care for one another. Perhaps you know better than other college students. There are many reasons to admire Cornell. One of the demonstrations of its greatness is your response to the loss of far too many students this year.
You have demonstrated care for your community. Heather talked about that earlier, and Stephanie, about belonging and the sense of community-- a loving compassion for those who need help. Cornell has given you the confidence that, if you need help and if you ask for help, help will be there. Thank you, Cornell University.
And thank you, President Skorton. Thank you, President Skorton. And now you will leave this beautiful campus. And isn't it beautiful?
My colleagues who went here-- to name a few, Gabby Giffords, Bob Filner, Kurt Schrader, and, of course, your representatives in Congress, Maurice Hinchey and Michael [INAUDIBLE], they all just love this place. They speak of its excellence. They speak of its beauty.
And when you leave this beautiful campus and take your place in the world with new freedoms and greater responsibilities, I hope with great confidence. We've already heard from Jeffrey the challenges that each of the schools face. I will join him in saying, for the engineers and architects, we need you to build the new green infrastructure and power the world with clean technologies of the future.
For the agriculture and life science graduates, we need you to cure disease, feed the world, administer to all that is God's beautiful creation. For the liberal arts students, we need your ideas and imagination to address the great challenges of our time-- yes, perhaps in writing legislation. And for those of you receiving a business degree, we need you to pursue the fruits of American capitalism with enthusiasm, while remaining always mindful of the responsibilities that come with the wonderful freedom of the marketplace.
All of you will now begin to build your reputation in your field and in your lives. And now you join a proud tradition of Cornellians who have helped ensure a better future for America. We need all of you-- all of you-- to build a new prosperity for the 21st century.
To the class of 2010, congratulations to you, and best wishes for much success. And I bring those greetings on behalf not only of my personal greetings, but on behalf of the Congress of the United States to the class of 2010. But personally, because the honor you have given me of being your convocation speaker, always remember, class of 2010, that you have a friend in the Speaker's office. Congratulations. God bless you, and God bless America.
HEATHER LEVY: Speaker Pelosi, if I could ask you to join me at the podium. I just wanted to thank you for joining us today and sharing your words as we, the class of 2010, reach this important milestone in our lives. It was an honor to hear from someone whose dedication and service to our country is admirable and inspiring.
You have faced adversity and hardship, yet persevered to be one of our nation's most important and influential leaders. It was a true privilege to hear your insights as we, the next generation of leaders, transition to postgraduate life. It is now my honor to present to you the Cornell University Senior Convocation Medallion. This award was created to recognize individuals for their meaningful contributions to our society. Speaker Pelosi, through your exemplary service to your constituents and the United States, it is our honor to present this award to you this year.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank certain individuals who have made today's event possible. First, to the convocation committee for their commitment and hard work through the planning of this event.
President Skorton, Susan Murphy, Tommy Bruce, and the Cornell administration for their support and time in ensuring a memorable weekend for us all.
Jennifer Davis, my advisor, for the significant amount of time and effort put forth into making this event such a success.
And lastly, I would like to thank the class of 2010 for your contributions to Cornell and the greater community during the last four years. On behalf of the Dean of Students Office, I congratulate each of you on your accomplishments and wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Please stand and join me and my fellow Cornellians in singing the Cornell University alma mater.
ALL: (SINGING) Far above Cayuga's waters, with its waves of blue, stands our noble alma mater, glorious to view. Lift the chorus. Speed it onward.
Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh, hail Cornell.
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Lift the chorus. Speed it onward.
Loud her praises tell. Hail to thee, our alma mater. Hail, oh, hail Cornell.
SPEAKER: There you go, you guys.
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The senior class president and special guest Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, address students and guests at Schoellkopf Stadium on Saturday, May 29, 2010.
Congratulations, Class of 2010!