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Brad, Lael & JD - roommates EWU Grad 06102010

Brad, Lael & JD - roommates EWU Grad 06102010

I had the privilege of attending Eastern Washington University’s Class of 2010 Graduation in Cheney, Washington. I went to celebrate with my friends Brad and JD on their big day.

Congratulations to both JD and to Brad for all your efforts and for a job well done. You make me proud.

The weather was cold and threatening to rain and yet it was easier to sit on those bleachers for hours in the cold, as last year we were sitting in the sunshine and it was over 90’F by the conclusion. Most likely because of the weather the speakers were short and sweet and pulled out all the humor they could muster. It was a good event.

Governor Christine Gregoire was the Keynote Speaker. I had heard her on the campaign trail, as a lawyer and have heard her give many other speeches but I did not know that she was also so inspiring in her words. Many folks in the stands were positively commenting at the conclusion. Only a few grumblers from the other political party muttered – the speech was too good it overpowered those remarks.

Here are three of the powerful things she said after gathering everyone’s attention and getting some good laughter going to warm us all:

  1. 51% of the Students receiving diplomas today are the first recipients of a college diploma from their respective family trees. These students were doing a new thing and changing the limits of their families. There was a great deal of sacrifice by family members to help them accomplish this goal – so there is gratitude on each side that needs to be voiced and shared.
  2. To make your diploma even more valuable an asset, one has to expand their horizons and add creativity to this paper work. The student has learned how to think and problem –solve; they need to practice that by continuing to learn and grow every day and pass those talents onward – play it forward. Creativity is an added bonus that comes along when one keeps practicing those thinking skills. What the world needs now is the most creative thinkers we can muster, because the world’s problems are big and need creative/innovative solutions and powerful thinking to move us forward.
  3. That people need to keep in mind that we all must work to figure out how we can serve the earth and her residents, because the goal of life is to serve life. My Mother used to say: “Always leave a place a bit better than you found it.” Your talents are there to help you serve life.

I was inspired.

Rain storm I-90

Rain storm I-90

Then I thought what if I was invited to be the key note speaker for graduation at a University? What would I say?

Today I would say, THIS is the moment where Dorothy comes out of the turbulence and she and the house land at the start of the Yellow Brick Road. Your diploma is your sparkling magical shoes and your ability to think and problem-solve is your Good Witch Guidance. It is up to you to walk that road and encounter everything you can along the way until you finally get to OZ and reveal what is behind the curtain (or deep within you) that you carried with you all along. How will you do the journey? Partake of the process? It is the journey and the connections you make along the way which will enrich your life and assist you in getting home. This is only a beginning – you need to take all the steps and walk the road. What will be your style and progress? What will you want to leave behind?

Good Luck and Go Well.

If you were to give the keynote address to a University Graduation, what you want to say and have them remember?

Looking forward to your inspiring thoughts and ideas.

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An Inspirational Tale

34 Responses to “Graduation”

  1. Tony Single Says:

    Patricia, that Wizard of Oz analogy really hits the mark for me. I love it! I’m clicking my heels now… :)

    Hmmm… what would I say for the keynote address? I dunno really. Pack a second toothbrush? Make sure you always wear clean underpants? Always flush after using the toilet? Sorry, none of that’s terribly helpful, is it? :(

    Seriously though, I think I would talk about the importance of thinking. For yourself. It’s okay to be your own person, one who owns all their successes and mistakes, their hopes and fears, their words and choices. I think that can be terribly important in today’s world.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    “51% of the Students receiving diplomas today are the first recipients of a college diploma from their respective family trees.” This IS inspiring. Parents are willing to sacrifice a lot to make sure their kids do better than they did in life.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Be Kind To Your Behind =-.

  3. Talon Says:

    Patricia, I loved the Wizard of Oz analogy, too.

    I don’t know what I’d say. A lot of young people I know feel the weight of the world on their shoulders especially in the light of the natural and manmade disasters of epic size and the sense that we might have gone so far there’s no coming back.

    I don’t know what I’d say to a graduating class of bright minds and hopeful dreams…I do remember feeling — the future was limitless, everything was possible and time stretched to inifinity.

    I think I would share one of my favorite quotes:

    “Knowing is not enough; we must apply.
    Willing is not enough; we must do.”

    –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Storm Dancing (Short Story) =-.

  4. Lisa@Practically Intuitive Says:

    What a great question! Gosh. It got me thinking.

    I don’t think I have anything major to say other than this:

    1. It’s perfectly okay to make a mistake. The world won’t end if you do and all your friends will still love you.

    2. Don’t be afraid to show your heart. They mend.

    3. Be the very best YOU you can be. That’s a gift to the world.

    Thanks for sharing this thought-provoking post!
    .-= Lisa@Practically Intuitive´s last blog ..Adventures of an Intuitive =-.

  5. Patricia Says:

    I loved your advice and good words – yep thinking is an important part of the process – then doing.

    Yep it was a gathering of a great deal of loving effort and the Governor did a beautiful job of recognizing that and adding some special humor. Important stuff

    My oldest daughter spent 3 years, doing other certification projects, but attempting to find a job after college graduation – it was heart breaking actually. I came up with the analogy of the Wizard of Oz for her and it seemed to make sense and propel her on her way. Love your quote.

    Thank you for your kind words and ideas – they just add so much to this idea.

    keep clicking those heels.
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Savannah Blues: A Novel ~Mary Kay Andrews =-.

  6. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Patricia – I think you would have made an awe inspiring speech too. Hearing that over half these kids were the first in their families to go to college is wonderful. It shows that despite the hard times that have hit us, progress is still being made in this world.
    .-= Cath Lawson´s last blog ..7 Enjoyable Ways To Spend Less Money =-.

  7. Mark Says:

    Thank-you for sharing the inspiring remarks by the Governor. I also enjoyed your use of the Wizard of Oz analogy in your speech. Very well done. Sadly for many who are graduating they are just as confused and unsure today as they were when the graduated high school.

  8. Patricia Says:

    It took a lot of hard work and a great deal of effort – folks have to pay big $ for their educations here and it really becomes a whole family event/effort. It is exciting
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Savannah Blues: A Novel ~Mary Kay Andrews =-.

  9. Patricia Says:

    I think that confusion is fairly big….I used to teach career-life planning at a university/college and I do not know why so many of the students refuse to take the class – it is so helpful for the rest of their lives in what ever big thing comes along….but only about 1% of the students will take the class – even those who are most confused.

  10. Jannie Funster Says:

    Laael is so cute!

    I like and agree that each moment is our sparkling red shoes time to be all we can be. And we always have that moment.

    Ahh, career and life planning – – if I only knewback then what I know now. Or knew now what I knew then? :)


  11. Jannie Funster Says:

    Sorry, a typo in Lael’s name in that last comment. Please forgive.


  12. suzen Says:

    Hi Patricia! WONderful speech you’d give – that governor surely does not out-shine you, lady!

    Boy, what would I say? ALWAYS be respectful of all people and of the earth – and eat something green every day! :) I’m sure if you asked my kids they’d be amazed the “message” is so short!


  13. Patricia Says:

    We should all keep our red shoes close at hand or foot! Hindsight is just so 20/20

  14. Patricia Says:

    I know my kiddos are amazed when I am short and sweet, but mother’s just need to attempt to squeeze in all the wisdom they can when ears are close by! A turf thing…:)

    Thank you for your kind words – blush, blush

  15. Lael and brad Says:

    We really liked the wizard of oz analogy too! Brad is driving but he says thank you for the kind words of encouragment. He says he likes your college speech

  16. Patricia Says:

    Thank you Lael and Brad – I am glad you liked it, I just want to honor his great efforts and achievement and shout out. Think I will be famous enough someday to give the speech at a college – will not be as funny as the one about Just wear Sunscreen!

  17. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. sounds like a good day with some inspirational thoughts. Opening up education to all is brilliant & it’s good to know that many more are experiencing the opportunity to have a college education.

    I love your analogy of the yellow brick road – that is wonderful .. it really is the start of life ..

    I don’t know what I’d say .. public speaking is such an art – being an orator is perhaps something I’ll develop ..

    Have a lovely weekend and thank you for sharing your day .. Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Nature in Balance … and the Dark-Bellied Dew Lover! =-.

  18. Mama Zen Says:

    I like your speech. What a great analogy!
    .-= Mama Zen´s last blog ..Charity =-.

  19. Davina Says:

    Heh, heh… I still wonder why they make us wear those darn hats for graduation. Know what I would say? Think beyond the books. I think so many people get caught up on what they already know from the books that they forget to learn and apply new learning after they leave school.

  20. Patricia Says:

    thank you for your great comments and I was happy to share this memorable day.

    Mama Zen,
    Thank you

    I just heard a speech on National Public Radio about how the arts help us to think and how with out arts in our curriculum we are not sure how to apply our knowledge…It made sense to me…how to use what has been learned..

  21. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    Hi Patricia,
    I would tell them to continue to love and believe in themselves. To present well. This will always lead to greater things for themselves and others. Thanks for sharing. I love these kind of inspiring speeches because they inspire me at the same time.
    .-= Tess The Bold Life´s last blog ..Dayz of Summer Fun… =-.

  22. Patricia Says:

    They inspire me too – that is the best part

  23. JD Says:


    It was truly a pleasure for you to attend my graduation! Even for the limited time I’ve known you, you have changed the way I’ve thought about many things. Your kind words and advice are enough to stop someone dead in their tracks and help spread the joy. You wisdom about life is more than I could ever ask for. I can tell now why this website is so named. I will take my diploma and accomplish everything I’ve set out to. I will leave behind a legacy or accomplishment, pride, and most of all happiness. Thanks again Patricia!

  24. James Says:


    It was truly a pleasure for you to attend my graduation. Even for the limited time I’ve known you, you’ve changed the way I’ve though about many things. Your kind words and advice are enough to stop someone dead in their tracks and help spread the joy. Your wisdom about life is more than I could ever ask for. I can tell now why this website is so named :) I will take my diploma and accomplish everything I’ve set out to do. I will leave behind a legacy of accomplishment, pride, and most of all happiness with the people I’ve encountered. Thanks again Patricia. And one more thing, it would be an honor to hear a speech given by you. Everyone would leave with a huge feeling of strength within the words you speak.

  25. Justin Dupre Says:


    Great analogy and speech. I would tell them 1. to work hard and be a good listener.. sometimes great opportunity knocked on your door very softly.. 2. Learn how to shift between being optimistic and realistic 3. Successful people fail just as many times as other do.. they just keep getting back up stronger and better. Thanks for sharing!

  26. J.D. Meier Says:

    “The start of the yellow brick road” … I like that metaphor!
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..The Design of Sources of Insight =-.

  27. Patricia Says:

    The pleasure was all mine and thank you for your kind words – you are going to do wonder full things ahead and I will be watching and sending you good energy – go well!

  28. Patricia Says:

    Justin Dupre,
    Thank you for commenting and welcome to PW! Your words are wonderful and I think it would make a great speech to share with new graduates. Very thoughtful and important concepts. Thank you

  29. Patricia Says:

    Yep! I think it’s a good metaphor too….with a happy ending :)

  30. Sara Says:


    I was impressed that you made note of the things Governor Christine Gregoire said.

    Usually I hate graduation speeches. They are almost always too long and not exciting exciting.

    However, I know I would enjoy sitting through your graduation speech. I loved the Wizard of Oz analogy. It’s perfect for that moment.:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Story Photo- Journey Train =-.

  31. Patricia Says:

    I agree with you Graduation speeches can be very drool, but maybe because the weather was threatening rain and it was cold…this one was short, funny, and inspiring. I did not even take notes – The Gov. wants these students to stay here and build up our state – it was good.

    I thought my idea was pretty good…and used it on all my kiddos

  32. Patricia Says:

    Your comment just popped up today, but it looks like a rewrite of the JD comment, which both are very thoughtful and lovely…Thank you

    Do you wish me to keep both up and running? and are you changing your name to the more formal for professional reasons?
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Graduation =-.

  33. JD Says:

    James is indeed a very strong name, but I was making it a little easier on everyone reading. JD is a very popular nickname lol. And plus I spelled your name wrong in the post hehe. These phones and their mini key pads, it’s enough to send the mind in a downhill spiril

  34. Patricia Says:

    no problem…yep typing on the phone can be quite an adventure and I have one huge typo that really cost me…Hey! the sun is coming out here – hope it is there?
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..Good News =-.