Graduation a beginning not an end

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 10, 2003

Sartain Hall was packed to the rafters for Friday morning's graduation ceremonies, which saw 470 students get diplomas and march into their respective futures.

"This is not termination day," the commencement speaker told the gathered graduates and their loved ones and families.

Constantine Curris, head of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, delivered the address, in which he compared the graduates to members of the American military and lauded the "new world order" of globalization.

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"The world today is smaller," he said. "Graduates are as likely to get a job in Madrid or Montreal as in Montgomery."

Curris encouraged "a genuine respect for diversity," and told the graduates to go out into the world and learn about cultures other than their own.

Jack Hawkins, Chancellor of the TSU system, also spoke briefly to the students, issuing four challenges to the group.

"Be good citizens," he instructed the graduating class. He emphasized the importance of civic participation in the world outside the college campus.

"Be active alumni," was his second reminder. By this, he explained, he hoped the graduates would speak well of their alma mater.

Hawkins also told the outgoing class to recruit new students.

"Send us good students," he imparted. "And finally, let us hear from you. If you do well, we do well."

Students were anxious to get their prized diplomas and as each walked across the stage to receive the document from Hawkins, parents and friends frequently offered vocal support from the sidelines. Flashbulbs popped and tassels were turned from one side to another. With those time-honored symbolic actions, yet another group of students, from 22 states and 10 foreign nations, passed from the halls of Troy State University and into the "real world."