From the President

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Horizons - Summer 2018

June 15, 2018

We applaud many things at Graceland, but the crowning achievement is learning. Scholarship is the most important task of the university, and academic accomplishment is what we celebrate at commencement.

This spring was my first Graceland Commencement on the Lamoni campus. I sat on the stage and looked out on graduating seniors sitting in orderly rows. Behind them were a couple more rows of Graceland faculty members who had mentored them in the classroom and on campus. Back further still were families and friends to celebrate this milestone with the graduates.

Of course, as I looked at faces I had come to know well, I couldn’t help but wonder what their futures will be. Graceland has produced outstanding achievers in so many fields: the Pulitzer Prize, the Olympics, Congress, diplomats, cancer research, health care, law, education…Our commencement speakers this year — one of whom is an alumnus — helped their organization win the Nobel Peace Prize.

So, who among the class of 2018 will capture headlines in their lifetime? It’s too soon to tell. They will take many different roads as they pursue their passions. Some may lead to fame and fortune; others may provide more private satisfactions of family and friendship. It is both a thrilling and unsettling fact of teaching that you never know if what you’re saying may have a profound life-changing impact, even when you wondered if they were listening at all.

A philosopher tells us that the goal in life is not to try to do extraordinary things, but to do ordinary things with an appreciation of their extraordinary significance. And so, we send our graduates out to do ordinary things with confidence that, with their Graceland experience, they will in their own creative ways make the world a better place. We hope they will keep in touch and let us know how their Graceland DNA continues to shine through in ordinary, extraordinarily significant ways.

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