I’m sure we can all agree that throughout our years together at this extraordinary place, our minds have rapidly expanded. We read, we write, we can spin any random thought into a brilliantly-worded thesis. That particular skill, impressive at may be, is, perhaps, the typical byproduct of many college experiences.
But, let us not forget people. This is the College. There is only one William & Mary. At this singular institution, over the course of the same busy years, incredibly, our hearts have managed to keep pace with our heads. We raced for a cure and escorted friends across the Sunken Garden. We sang for Haiti, golfed for Avalon, built houses, raked leaves, tutored, and brought countless smiles to this country’s and the world’s most depressed regions. We arrived caring, but inspired by each other, we learned to engage our hearts in action.
Unfortunately today, my very well-trained head and my very-well trained heart are not agreeing on much.
My head is blaring that today is a great day! I know this to be true because people keep congratulating me. And “congratulations” is a great-day sort of word. Later, I think I’ll get some presents. Also great. Thank you, Mom.
My heart, however, is appalled by my traitorous head; to paraphrase a friend, my heart feels that this whole circus is akin to a large-scale and inappropriately-toned exciting symposium… on our collective execution. Yeah, that’s… serious.
And right now, my heart is so sad to be parting with this place.
Because it is here at this College that I have met all of you. Passionate, kind, and loyal friends who made adventures out of everything; fellow students who managed to challenge all of my assumptions while respecting all of my beliefs. And I have learned from all of you, professors who devote your time, your minds and your hearts, to your students. You all are not just incredible teachers, but really incredible people and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to sit in your classrooms.
And here, as a member of this Tribe, I have found truths that have left indelible impressions on my head and my heart alike.
I know that in the midst of limited resources, greatness is possible. When money runs short, character can sustain any budgetary crisis. I know that in the midst of email, gmail, gchat, facebook, facebook chat, MySpace, skype, texting, and BBMing a truly extraordinary community can flourish. I know we’ve each earned a place amongst the elite of an intellectual and academic world, but I know just as confidently that we haven’t forgotten our place and responsibility amongst the world’s less fortunate.
So today, appropriately, it is one newfound truth that placates my dueling head and my dueling heart. There may be only one William & Mary, but there are 1,290 of us. Wherever we go, we’ll take this place with us.
Whatever we do next, whether we’re off to Oxford or returning home, it is our unique opportunity to make our new world a little more like this one, offering potent minds rivaled in potential only by the promise of our hearts. Together we will make this world not just a whole lot smarter, but a whole lot kinder. That way, we’ll recognize the College when we come back. (Speaking of which, Homecoming is October 21st. We’re playing Delaware. Mark your calendars).
That undoubtedly, will be a good day, but right now, I am finally ready to embrace the truth of the notion that today is a really, really great day. While there is only one William & Mary, history proves it will always be here; and my head and my heart agree that it will always be ours.