President Bloomberg addressed the graduating spring Class of 2023 on May 13, 2023 in the Wolstein Center. Her remarks appear below as prepared for the morning and afternoon ceremonies.
Graduates, congratulations to each of you! Today is the culmination of years of hard work — and you deserve every bit of celebration and congratulations heaped on you today.
I love graduation day on campus! I just keep thinking of all the critical moments where you made decisions that led to you being here today. At some point, you made the decision that your education was a priority, and that college was the right path for you.
Just in strictly economic terms, you made a wise decision. We know that Ohio college graduates on average earn 42% more than those with a high school diploma. And we just completed an independent economic impact study that told us for every one dollar invested in CSU, graduates and society as a whole benefit nearly seven dollars. That is a good investment.
To get here today, you also chose to make sacrifices that really are required to be a successful college student. And at some point, you discovered your passion or your dream job, and you committed to pursuing it. Maybe some of you didn’t know exactly what you wanted, but you followed your instinct, sought the advice of trusted advisors, and pointed yourself in a direction. You ventured forth until you found a path. You should be really proud of yourselves for doing that.
As your President, every day I have the wonderful opportunity to talk with students, whether scheduled or through a chance encounter somewhere on campus (often in line at Starbucks in the Student Center, after a music performance in Waetjen Auditorium, at a basketball game, or even outside of Rascal House (far too many of you know about my late night cravings for pizza with extra cheese). And in those encounters, I get to learn a bit about you. I learn some of your stories and what brought you here. I am amazed each time at the unique circumstances and the personal goals that propel you forward.
Some of you arrived at CSU right after high school. Perhaps you always knew about CSU having been a student in the Cleveland area and became a Viking because Cleveland is your home, and you always knew CSU would be your college home.
Perhaps you came to CSU after some time away from school, but you discovered your dream and knew that we could help you achieve it.
Some of you come to class after working a day job (or two!) or perhaps taking care of your children.
Some of you spend significant time in both the classroom and on the field or on the court or at the track — and yet you have exceled at them equally.
Some of you today came to CSU after distinguished military service, and we are glad you are here.
I’m certain you came to CSU hoping to find a place where you felt you belonged. I hope, more than anything, that you found your people, your community here. We know so much about the connection between developing a sense of belonging and how well we learn. You came to CSU as students, and you are leaving as so much more than that. Some of you are leaving as friends or confidants. Some of you are leaving together as couples. Perhaps a few of you are now research or business partners with the people you met here. You are Vikes for life!
And all of your stories weave the tapestry that is CSU. I want to highlight two key elements, two threads, of that tapestry that I hope you carry with you as you leave here today: resilience and gratitude.
A common theme I hear as I talk with students is one of resilience. Either from past experiences or learned while on our campus, your resilience allows you to be confident in yourselves and bounce back from challenges and setbacks. During your time here, I am sure that each of you has faced your share of challenges, but those challenges didn’t stop you.
Resilience not only drives us forward but also helps us to accept the diversity of the community around us. Resilience allows us to really see the diversity of our friends and classmates who may come from different parts of the world, who observe different traditions or who hold views different from your own; to approach relationships with a healthy dose of respectful curiosity and a desire to learn about people who are different from us even as we hold true to our own values and priorities. This is how we create a community where we live well together; where we learn about and come to understand each others’ heritage, beliefs and point of view, even if we don’t share them ourselves. We can be proud of ourselves and, at the same time without compromising our own values, we can respect what makes other people proud of themselves. I hope you had those experiences at CSU. They will prepare you well for life beyond college.
So now the gratitude part of the tapestry. It starts there — with recognizing and appreciating the people in your lives who have taught you, supported you, lifted you up — and then making the time to show them that gratitude.
So today, even as you let relief and a well deserved sense of pride and accomplishment wash over you, I encourage you to let gratitude be your super power.
Graduates, you are in an arena filled with people who supported you, because no one gets to this point alone.
My fellow faculty members, will you please rise? And all of the CSU staff members who are here with us in the arena, would you also rise?
Graduates — please join me in expressing our shared gratitude to these professionals who show up every day to students achieve their dreams, who make your success their priority, and who had such an impact on your academic growth.
[President Bloomberg leads graduates in applause]
Thank you. And graduates, I would also ask that you look out into the crowd. Find the people who helped you to persevere — your family members and friends to whom you owe a debt of gratitude.
Let’s give them a round of applause.
[President Bloomberg leads graduates in applause]