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Governor Jim Doyle says Wisconsin, the world will benefit from service
Governor Jim Doyle says Wisconsin, the world will benefit from service
Wisconsin, the world will benefit from service
By JIM DOYLE
Posted: May 29, 2004
Thank you for your invitation to allow Jessica, my wife, and I to share this incredibly happy moment with the graduates of the class of 2004 and with your families and friends . . .
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Jim Doyle: Wisconsin, the world will benefit from service
Jim Lehrer: Taking risks will enrich life
Al Jarreau: Boost that diploma by reaching out
I was pleased when I arrived to find out we would come in after the graduates walked through, and I'll tell you the reason . . . I've been to a number of these with my kids, and I assume there are a number of parents like me out there . . . I just automatically start crying when "Pomp and Circumstance" is played and the young people walk through. Those are tears of just pride.
But in terms of graduation from college, those are tears not only of pride, but of tremendous relief since the thought is, "My God, they're gonna go off and start earning their own money now, and we are free at last." Unfortunately, I found out we weren't quite free yet. But I do congratulate all of you who are here today.
I am very mindful of words spoken in a commencement address given by a former governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, who once said that being a commencement speaker is like being the body at a traditional Irish wake. They can't have a party without you, but nobody expects you to say too much. I'll try to keep Governor Cuomo's remarks in mind.
As I look out at this incredible gathering here today, I see so many happy graduates and I see so many family members and friends. And I understand, as we all understand, the tremendous investment of time, emotion, love and, yes, even money that has been made by your family to see that this day came about. And I know that you graduates appreciate what they have done - your family and friends and others who have supported you to get you to this day.
But I have lived enough years now to know that there's something even more. As years go by, you will treasure the achievement that you are recognizing here today even more. And your appreciation for family and friends will grow deeper and deeper as the real understanding of what you have accomplished here today becomes clear to you. Now it is up to you, the graduates, to make those investments worthwhile.
This is an incredibly exciting time in your life. You are faced with many choices. Some of the choices you are going to make will be very simple. Some will be very difficult. But above all, you have already made one of the most important choices in your whole life. You made the choice to work hard and get that education. You have achieved that.
In Wisconsin, in this state, we value education and hard work above everything else. These are the values that were given to us by our parents and grandparents and great-grandparents. These are the values that are manifested in out great learning institutions like the one we are in today . . . This institution exists because of the sacrifices and investments that were made by parents, grandparents and great-grandparents from generations past. And it is extremely incumbent on you graduates today to live with that education, to live with those values and to make sure that you pass them on to the people who will come after you.
This degree recognizes a major step in your formal education, but it must not represent the end of your education. Make learning a lifelong priority. Continue to develop yourself, if not in the classroom, then in your community.
You never will know what the future will hold. But if you are well-educated, you will be able to handle any challenge that comes before you. Today, you are starting out on the rest of your life and that is no small thing.
You are not just going out into the work force, but you are going to be the teachers, the business people, the builders, the scientists, the medical professionals, the law enforcement officers, the information technicians and many, many other occupations. You are going to be the people who will make the state of Wisconsin work and other states in the country and the world work. You are who we are counting on to make sure that this state grows and prospers and that we will move boldly into tomorrow.
I want Wisconsin to be a place where every single person, regardless of their background, is willing to roll up his or her sleeves, to work hard. I want Wisconsin to be a place where everyone will work hard and play by the rules and get a good family-supporting job, be successful and enjoy all that life in this state has to offer.
That is my vision for this state, and I know that we are well on our way to making it a reality when I see the kind of great students we have graduating from our universities. I know, as well, that you have not only been great students, but that you will be great citizens of our state, committed to service in your neighborhoods and communities.
Wisconsin and the other states in this country need great citizens. We need people who are generous, who are giving and engaged. We need you to lead us into the future through your hard work and service.
You are graduates of an institution, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, that has devoted itself to service learning. This is an institution that is a leader in the world in building not only great students, but great citizens. I ask you to make citizenship and service lifelong endeavors.
Years ago, in my era, a young president, John Kennedy, called on the young people of this country to serve. You have all heard of his words in his inaugural address, among the most famous ever uttered in American history: "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."
He started the Peace Corps, and he said that every young American participating in the Peace Corps, who works in a foreign land, will know that he or she is sharing in the great common past of bringing to man that decent way of life that is the foundation of freedom and a condition of peace.
My wife, Jessica, and I were college students, and we were inspired by that call. We spent two years living in a small village in the desert of northern Africa, living with people who were totally impoverished. We went there thinking that we had a lot to teach them, but we learned very quickly that what little we had to give them was dwarfed by what they gave us.
We were humbled by the people we met and the kindness we received. And we learned never, ever to take for granted what we have here in the United States. We hope you also have heard that call to service and that it will be lifelong.
Whether it's the Peace Corps or the military, or work in your own community mentoring a child, helping an older person, participating in youth groups or Boys & Girls Clubs, or being a Big Brother or Sister, or working with your church, being involved in service organizations: There are hundreds and thousands of ways to be involved in your community to give service and to make a difference . . .
You have so much to offer. Please go out and make sure that you share it with others. The pride in you, reflected in the eyes of your parents, family and friends, I assure you, is shared by the entire state of Wisconsin. Be proud of your communities and of this state.
After all, your dreams are Wisconsin's dreams. Your successes will be Wisconsin's successes. Live life to the fullest. Our future depends on you.
On behalf of a proud and grateful state, I offer you my deepest congratulations and wish you the best of luck in the years ahead. Thank you very much.
Gov. Jim Doyle spoke to graduates at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on May 15.