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President’s Corner: ‘Be More Than Spectators in Life’

The following is an excerpt from my remarks at our in-person commencement ceremonies last week. Though the message was intended for our new graduates, I hope it inspires others, too.

"As you look to the future, don't lose sight of that often-used but not fully appreciated quote from Sir Isaac Newton: 'If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.'

What Newton might be saying to us in 2021 is this: Continually bring people into our lives who will encourage us, but also challenge us to think differently.

All of you deserve today to bask in that limelight, but please do not lose that commitment to others that you discovered and implemented at ODU.

Many of us - old and young - view today's problems as society's problems. They clearly require a great deal of time and effort, but maybe from someone else, not us.

But you know what, 2021 graduates? Apathy is also an epidemic.

The world we live in requires all of us, regardless of age or social standing, to be more than spectators in life. I encourage you to continue to focus your spirit and energies to make a difference in other areas where our world truly needs your help.

Let me conclude by saying good luck to all of you. You have my personal admiration for balancing classes, jobs, military service, family life and busy lives into the education equation. Each of you personifies the American success story because of the diverse paths and challenges you have navigated to obtain a degree."

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Presidential Inauguration

ODU commemorated the inauguration of President Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., during Homecoming Weekend 2022. Relive the historic weekend.

Fall Open House

It's time to fall in love with ODU! Join us for our last Open House event of the semester on Saturday, November 19.

Commencement 2022

Visit the Commencement Office for information on event times, caps & gowns, tickets and more!