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    Virginia Tech Spring 2019 Commencement Ceremony


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    REMOTE CART VT-Undergraduate School Commencement Ceremony YouTube Live 8:00 am – 10:30 am (EST) May 16, 2019 * * * * CAPTIONING PROVIDED BY: ALTERNATIVE COMMUNICATION SERVICES, LLC www

    CaptionFamilycom * * * * * This text, document, or file is based on live transcription Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings This text, document, or file is not to be distributed or used in any way that may violate copyright law

    * * * * (Captions provided by a live Captioner) 9:21 AM (EST) CAPTIONER: Standing by ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ (Applause) ♫ Pomp and Circumstance ♫ (Applause) MS DIANE ZAHM: Please stand for the passing of the Colors and the singing of the National Anthem ♫ National Anthem ♫ O, say can you see By the dawn's early light What so proudly we hailed At the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars Through the perilous fight O'er the ramparts we watched Were so gallantly streaming And the rocket's red glare The bombs bursting in air Gave proof through the night That our flag was still there Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave (Applause) DR

    SANDS: Thank you, Mary To those receiving degrees today, to their families and friends, to the faculty, staff, and students, on behalf of the university, I welcome you to the Spring 2019 Commencement exercises In this the 148th year of the university (Applause) Jack Holland, Cadet Member-at-Large for the Class of 2019, will offer the Opening Reflections JACK HOLLAND: President Sands, Dr

    Perillo, Provost Cyril Clark, is deemed list because ladies and gentlemen,, Hokies, ladies and gentlemen,, welcome to beautiful Blacksburg, Virginia And to the class of 2019, congratulations! (Applause) I have been a Hokies for four years, one month, 26 days and while each of our timeline started at a different point, we all stand here together, forged and connected through unity, forever bonded by tradition What a privilege it is to be surrounded by some of the brightest minds, kindest hearts, a most impressive young leaders this world has ever seen We all came to Virginia Tech unsure of what this great place would hold in store for each of us; however, how we would fit in, what we would accomplish, who we would meet, if we could do it Look around

    The deed is done and the battle won We have together accomplished this great feat What pushed us past those moments of uncertainty and trepidation was a passion, a dream that we had unique to each of us that was so great that we were willing to work and struggle and sacrifice for it In doing so, we didn't just find a degree We found knowledge, experience, community, people we want to spend the rest of our lives with

    Sometimes without heartbreak and loss and a challenge and bad weather yet we persevered And hopefully, we finally figured out what is a Hokie I would like to take a moment to share with you today some of the things I've learned throughout my time here Don't be a passive character in your own life Step up, be courageous and be bold and always remember to serve and to live

    Recognize how great the in fact of a single moment can be and that what you do matters Make sure you thank people, tell them you love them, and that they matter to you Find the joy into the little things, don't be afraid to smile, and always be glad to be here Our college journey is made up of tens of thousands of unique, yet shared lessons and experiences that helped us to find how this beautiful place leaves is mark on us, just as we leave our mark on it Throughout are four years, we shared incredible moments from the day we were excepted, to move in day, to our first class, making prints, going on hands ducky concerts and the battle at Bristol (Applause) Relays and big events, concerts, plays, recitals and showcases, birthdays, cultural festivals, holidays and celebrations

    We had two cadet versus civilians snowball fights, 25 home football games We beat UVA again, and again, and again, and again! (Applause) We designed and premiered a class logo, motto, entering and wore the tradition and then we celebrated with a ring dance where we learned there is no place like home All and all, we wove our threads into the tapestry that is Hokie Nation, turning our class into a family and this school into a home And once or twice we call earthquakes when we heard Hokie Nation, start jumping! (Applause) As we sit here today in the final moments of our undergraduate journey, it is important to remind ourselves that we are not at the end of our path, about the beginning The beginning of our lives as graduates of the best school in this nation

    The beginning of our time as alumni in with that, a responsibility to turn around and support those Hokies behind us Simply put, this is the beginning of the rest of our lives Do not be intimidated behind us We do not go into this journey alone We take on this challenge with 268,812 alumni on our team

    If they can do it, then so can we and we most certainly have While this has been and always will be home, there is a reason we say let's go It is because we are ready And so for one last time I, I say, "Let’s go! " »: Hokie Nation (Applause) DR SANDS: Thank you, Jack

    We are pleased to have with us today representatives from Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors Please stand and please recognize with your applause these representatives of the University's governing board who are with us today (Applause) Now I am pleased to introduce Billy Lin, President of the class of 2019 BILLY LIN: Thank you, President Sands

    Good morning How has everyone's they've been? Well, I am going to start by saying it was tough writing my speech I spent a lot of days staring at my laptop, not knowing what to write I needed a new perspective, so one night I went to the pylons and just sat there Reflecting on life

    And I found something beautiful I remember sitting at those pylons and it was dark It was cold It wasn't raining though so that is why I stayed But I remember the stars were out

    It was silent that night, no birds or people or squirrels to be heard heard It seems like the night was going to go on forever The time passes and what I saw was a glimmer of the sun in the horizon and slowly, majestically, it rose , filling the world with warmth and life It reminded me how we all go through hard times and sometimes it feels like it will always be dark, just like the rain right now But there is a beautiful light in all of us and it will rise and I promise you you are going to get through it

    You are strong, you are powerful, and you are loved Don't you ever underestimate yourself! (Applause) So be adventurous in life and that guy or a girl you want to ask out on a date, go for it! (Applause) You are curious about what Japan or Egypt or Greece is like, go book some tickets! You think you would be a great novelist or musician or filmmaker, or add developer, get to work! Get out of your comfort zone for that is how we all truly grow And when you succeed in life, money will come, awards will come, fame will come, but that will never replace your friendships and family They always come first (Applause) They are always going to love you, no matter where you are in life

    So hug your loved ones, keep them close, and spent time with them So thank you, class of 2019 You have inspired me so much these past four years and you have helped me become a better person I am forever thankful And even though we are all graduating, we will always be together for Virginia Tech, it's a special place

    Is not just a college It's home! It is a place that will never leave us because we will forever hold it in our hearts It is okay to be scared Is okay to cry It is okay

    We will be back soon So farewell, everyone It has been a journey of our lifetime I love you Virginia Tech! I love you Hokie Nation! And I love you! (Applause) DR SANDS: Thank you, Billy

    And now Charlie Phlegar, Vice President for advancement would present our alumni board distinct service awards CHARLIE PHLEGAR: I would so like to ask Mark Lawrence, President of the venue check check alumni Association to join me Thank you, President Sands, also I am, especially proud today as the father of Lauren, a member of the class of 2019 as well as her roommates and class members, Maddie, Ryland, and Jordan (Applause) And now it is my pleasure to announce the recipients of the alumni distinguished service award This year we are presenting the award to five individuals who are all members of the Class of 1969, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year As I call your name, would you please come forward? Frank Beamer, legendary coach and outstanding Hokie (Applause) Joe Meredith, President and CEO of the Virginia Tech corporate research center (Applause) Ray Smoot, retired CEO of the foundation and university Leader for more than five decades (Applause) Tom Teller, class of 2019 namesake of your class ring and former Vice President of the alumni relations office who has served the University for decades

    (Applause) And finally, David Steger, accepting the award on behalf of the family of the late Charles Steger, Virginia Tech's beloved 15th President (Applause) Please recognize our five alumni distinguished service award recipients with your applause (Applause) Thank you DR SANDS: I'd like to add my congratulations to all the recipients of the Alumni Distinguished Service Award The impact they've had on the university through their service and commitment is remarkable, and so is the service of the Class of 1969, which is celebrating its 50th year

    Please recognize them and all of our alumni who graduated 50 or more than 50 years and are now members of the old guard society of Golden alumni (Applause) Our commencement speaker today needs no introduction Just about everyone here knows who he is and what he means to Hokie Nation Frank Beamer has been much more than an outstanding coach

    Throughout his career he demonstrated what it means to be a leader with honor, integrity, and a spirit of service He taught us with his words and example, and he's still teaching us today Please welcome Coach Frank Beamer (Applause) FRANK BEAMER: thank you very much Who was just in charge of the weather here? You've got to be tough to be a Hokie, right? Yes! First I would like to thank President Sands, Provost Cyril Clark, Members of the Board of visitors, Virginia Tech Vice Presidents and Deans, fellow award winners, and the graduating students of the class of 2019

    (Applause) It is an honor to stand in front of you today I would like to also recognize the parents and friends and family members of our graduates here today Congratulations! (Applause) Graduates, I needTo tell you one thing now Listen up The days of hanging out at the top of the stairs, Big Al's and Sharkey's on your parents dime are over

    It is on you now Welcome to the real world (Applause) The class of 2019 will always hold a special place in my heart When you entered as freshmen, I was entering my final season as your head football coach The end of a dream for me at Virginia Tech and the beginning of a new chapter for you

    Memories that will last a lifetime I have walked through that tunnel 191 times as player and coach at Virginia Tech (Applause) To look out and see this stadium Rocking to the tune of enter Sandman was a sight to see But today, I can honestly say, I am more nervous than any game we ever played here I hope my message to you today, gives each of us just one more victory together and one more memorable trip through that tunnel Today I hope that you will be able to remember the four people I will speak about, and the message each of them have for you

    Just as a football game has four quarters, I have four individuals stories to share The first person is my mother Herma Beamer My mother was a schoolteacher for over 30 years She was a strong and determined woman She taught me many things growing up, but one of the most important qualities she taught me was how to handle adversity

    You see when I was seven years old, I nearly died in a gasoline explosion at my home I was burned severely, and over the next four years, I had more than 30 surgeries That was adversity But my mother taught me not to feel sorry for myself During each of those summers when my friends were playing baseball, swimming, and having fun, I was in the hospital

    What my mother made me do each day in the hospital is my is get up and walk the halls And her message was, "Indeed you are facing adversity, but there are people who are far less fortunate Deal with your situation and move on" as you embark on your careers, and as you put your degree from Virginia Tech to work, each of you are going to face adversity It is going to happen, so prepare each day for it

    But more importantly prepare each day for how you will react to the situation You may not control what happens but you do control how you will respond My mother taught me that at an early age by walking the halls The second person I want to talk about is a basketball coach A young man that died of cancer at an early age

    I am sure many of you know the name Jim Valvano He was the charismatic Head Basketball Coach at North Carolina State Valvano's team shocked the sports world when they won the National Championship in 1983 I would like to mention two things Jim Valvano did that have great meaning First, we all know the tradition of basketball teams cutting down the net

    After winning a championship That is the symbol of a champion Each team member and coach get to climb the ladder and cut off a piece of the net But what Valvano did is my message to you Each season, he would devote an entire practice to the proper procedure in cutting down the net

    He would bring the ladder out, have each person climb it and properly cut a piece of the net off as he instructed them This would be an entire day of practice And what eventually happened, his 1983 team got to cut down the net My message is for you to set your goals high and practice for the day when you win your championship Shortly before his passing, Valvano made an inspirational speech during the ESPY awards

    He said the following: "We should do three things every day of our life: "We should laugh We should think We should have our emotions moved to tears of joy or tears of sadness " There are a great number of people that have helped you get here today Many have given you guidance, support, and a direction

    Make sure you thank them Today, make sure you tell them you love them On this great day of celebration, I ask you to laugh, to think and to bring yourself to tears We are now in the 3rd quarter, the third person I want to join today is Charles Plumb Charles Plumb was a U

    S Navy jet pilot in Vietnam After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison

    Many years later, Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, "You're Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk You were shot down!" "How in the world did you know that? ," asked Plumb "I packed your parachute," the man replied Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude The man pumped his hand and said, "I guess it worked!" Plumb assured him, "It sure did

    If your chute hadn't worked, I wouldn't be here today " Plumb couldn't sleep that night, thinking about that man Plumb says, "I kept wondering what he might have looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat, a bib in the back, and bell-bottom trousers I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said 'Good morning, how are you? ' or anything, because, you see, I was a Top Gun fighter pilot, and he was just a sailor " Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent on a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time, the fate of someone he didn't know

    It has always been important for me to show appreciation for all of those involved in the success of my career No matter what role they played in winning a game or in my personal life, I always tried to thank them You know who packed your parachute Thank them! The fourth and final person I want to speak with you about is country singer Tim McGraw I like to McGraw

    I really like Faith Hill! (Laughter) A song writer for Tim McGraw, Lori McKenna, wrote a song in two hours that was a message she wanted to send to her children I know there is a message for each of us in Tim McGraw's song The song title is "Humble and Kind " Tim McGraw sings the following: "Hold the door, say, "Please," say, "Thank you" Don't steal, don't cheat, don't lie

    I know you have mountains to climb But always stay humble and kind " McGraw continues: "When the dreams you're dreaming come to you When the work you put in is realized Let yourself feel the pride But always stay humble and kind Don't take for granted the love this life gives you When you get where you're going Don't forget turn back around And help the next one in line Always be humble and kind" Those are indeed meaningful words As you begin your life after graduation, there will be times when it seems like there is a mountain to climb You are going to face adversity, but you can climb the mountain, you can make it to the peak

    My mother Herma Beamer taught me to do that by walking the halls of the hospital You can do it by preparing each day for how you will handle adversity Dream big…… McGraw continues: "When the dreams you're dreaming come to you When the work you put in is realized Let yourself feel the pride " Today, celebrate your degree from Virginia Tech

    Laugh, think, bring yourself to tears Your diploma can lead you to many more victories in your lifetime Be determined to make it happen Just like coach Jim Valvano, be ready to cut down the net Back to McGraw "Don't take for granted the love this life gives you When you get where you're going Don't forget to turn back around, And help the next one in line

    " Today and every day, I encourage you to thank those people for allowing you to accomplish what we are celebrating today Charles Plumb taught us to thank those who packed our parachutes Who packed your parachute? And finally, I hope that when you leave here today you will remember the words of Tim McGraw and Frank Beamer: What are those words? Always be humble and kind! God bless you and congratulations (Applause) DR SANDS: Thank you, Coach

    It is now my pleasure to announce the University Distinguished Achievement Award recipient This award recognizes achievement that is nationally significant, and has enduring benefit to society And exemplifies our motto , Ut Prosim, that I may serve I would like to ask the director of the board of visitors, Dennis Treacy, to join me for this presentation On behalf of the university and the Board of Visitors, it is my pleasure to present our 2019 University Distinguished Achievement Award to Steve Mollenkopf

    Steve, would you please come forward? (Applause) Steve graduated from Virginia Tech in 1992 with a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering He was a member — he is now CEO of Qualcomm, a global leader in technology and the reason you have such an amazing piece of technology right now in your hand, hopefully, in a Ziploc bag He also launched Qualcomm Thinkabit labs and partnership with Virginia Tech to connect students and their teachers with hands-on STEM experiences A Steve, thank you for representing Virginia Tech with distinction and reflecting our spirit of innovation and service throughout your career (Applause) And it is now my great honor to announce the William H

    Ruffner Medal Award Recipient The William H Ruffner Medal Award Recipient recognizes the great contributions and distinguished service to Virginia Tech rise above all others It is the highest honor our university confers Our 2019 honoree is Heywood Fralin

    Heywood, would you please come forward? (Applause) Heywood is well-known for his distinguished career in the law, his leadership in healthcare as Chairman of Medical Facilities of America, and his outstanding generosity and service He has consistently provided volunteer leadership, philanthropic support, and legislative advocacy for Virginia Tech To quote our board of visitors, he is a servant leader of the first-order Heywood, it is our great honor to present you with the Ruffner Medal and your ongoing service of Ut Prosim, that I may serve in its highest form (Applause) I now call upon the University's Executive Vice President and Provost, Dr

    Cyril Clarke, to assist with the conferral of degrees Dr Clarke: In today's ceremony, we will confer 52 Associate degrees and approximately 5485 Baccalaureate degrees (Applause) Virginia Tech also holds a Fall Commencement for those eligible to participate upon their completion of summer and fall sessions The degree candidates today include students who have completed requirements during the winter and spring terms of 2019

    This evening, the Virginia Maryland college of of that neuromedicine will present diplomas to 122 students in its 36 classes Will representative candidates for the doctor of it medicine degree, please rise ? (Applause) And please remain standing And will all the candidates for associate and bachelor's degrees also please rise now? President Sands, I present to you the class of 2019 (Applause) DR SANDS: With the power vested in me and the Commonwealth ofby the board of visitors Virginia, and upon the recommendation of the faculty, I confer upon you the Associate and Bachelor's degrees to which you are entitled, with all rights, privileges, and responsibilities pertaining thereto (Applause) You may now signify your new status by moving your tassel from the right side of the mortarboard to the left and turning your class ring

    (Applause) I congratulate each of you, and ask the audience to recognize your achievement with applause (Applause) Please be seated And now, Mark Lawrence, president of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association Board, will offer congratulations on behalf of our Alumni President Sands, thank you for that introduction and class of 2019, good morning! It's an honor to be here today to offer a few words from your alumni Association and to your family, friends, and guests who are celebrating with you on this beautiful Blacksburg day, welcome! Look around! This is an incredible scene and one I hope that you will remember There is little that compares to the feeling on your commencement day in length Stadium and coach Beamer, it is a pretty cool view from up here, isn't it? And a special word of congratulations to today's award winners

    We are grateful for your service Graduates, you are joining the Hokie alumni family today, the greatest alumni body on the planet Welcome and congratulations! (Applause) As Hokies we are motivated by service and making a difference You are now joining a group of almost 260,000 people, not just in the United States, but around the world Our community is large but we share a common bond, our commitment to service, to the global community, and to each other

    As alumni of this University, you are never alone and you are well prepared for the next step in your life journey As you enter the world upon graduation, will face big opportunities and at times some challenges, but know that when you need us, you can rely on members of the Hokie Nation for support We are thrilled to have you as our newest alumni and we are proud of what you have accomplished! As he reflect on your time here, think about what inspired you What shape do you, what you learned, where you succeeded, and those times that you fell short And please think about what makes this place so special

    This is home! Please take the opportunity as Coach Beamer said to say thanks to everyone who helped you along the way And stay connected to Virginia Tech in as many ways as you can Become involved with your local alumni Chapter If there isn't one where you are, find some other Hokies and start one Becoming an alum is not the end of your journey with Virginia Tech

    It is just a milestone As graduates, please show your Hokie spirit It is second nature to you Tell others what makes this place special Keep in touch and update your contact information so we can stay in touch with you

    Visit campus often Our summer reunion weekend is less than a month away and we expect to see every one of you here And be a mentor to young Hokies Most importantly, live Ut Prosim, our guiding motto every day Service means giving back, back to your communities, back to each other, and back to the University that help pave the way for future Hokies

    Some of you have already accepted the challenge to get back Graduates wearing the black and gray graduation cords today are our University's original colors and participated in the senior class of program On behalf of our board and the entire Virginia Tech alumni Association, thank you for your support And on your way out today, you will receive a bigger tech — a Virginia Tech lapel pin, a small but important token from your alumni Association Please wear them with pride wherever you go as you represent the Hokie Nation

    Class of 2019, we can't wait to see where you go and what you accomplish! Congratulations and Go Hokies! (Applause) DR SANDS: Thank you, Mark A special thanks to conductor Jonathan Caldwell and the Wind Ensemble and Mary Haugh, the Corps cadets color guard and our faculty marshals and ushers (Applause) On behalf of the faculty and staff and your proud alma mater, I wish today's graduates every success now, Alaina Garren, Historian of the Class of 2019, will offer closing reflections, after which our 2019 Spring Commencement Ceremony will be concluded, and our academic session will come to a close

    After Alaina's remarks, please stand and remain at your seats until the stage party has recessed from the field Alaina, please come forward (Applause) ALAINA GARREN: Class of 2019, hello! I am a proud part of a very small program here at Virginia Tech so when I walked into my mandatory design appreciation class of freshman year, I was stunned to find over 300 students enrolled in a lecture with the same Professor who taught my intimate 20 person studio Students across disciplines and role in appreciation due to recommendations for most everyone who has taken it before It is summed up in one sentence, design appreciation guide students to understand that everything man-made in this world was designed and thought out by someone

    This class notoriously shifts student perceptions and aims to make us more aware and understanding of the world around us Even as a freshman, I instantly saw the power of a course like this Today, I think about design appreciation I look at our Stadium and our class and I think about what is affecting this moment, each little aspect of what a shaping our experience is because of other people whose hard work goes to contribute the small part of this moment Think about a seemingly small aspect of your experience today

    Your gowns We are sitting in Blacksburg where the same gowns every college graduate ever anywhere has ever worn The commencement tradition designed and established over 800 years ago had stood the test of time, but generation after generation of artisans and scientists have contributed to improve the gowns we wear today, from the machinery that threads our gowns, to the processes that winds that thread, to be assigned significance of stripes and hoods and colors How will gowns changed by the time our children graduate? Will they wear gowns? Will a college degree even be relevant ? Look around you Really soak this in

    They gowns are so small This whole world is meticulously designed, the beauty of our community is the diversity and skill, interest, and passion and driving each of us to dedicate our efforts to something we care about We, the class of 2019, are made up of students across 150 fields of study Our class will go on to work in countless fields, some that many of us don't even know exists But we will all end up affecting the experience of so many in one way or another

    Learn to appreciate every moment, not just how they moment is making you feel or affecting you, but appreciate everything that went into shaping that moment While we are just getting started on our own contributions, one day our generation will be leading things I anticipate the world under our leadership to look very different than our world today If life is anything like studio, it can take many iterations to figure things out One of my greatest lessons learned at Virginia Tech is to embrace change

    Don't be too stubborn or embarrassed to acknowledge that you feel differently about something than you want did We are all learning and growing Fail faster, figure out what works for you The same professor who teaches design appreciation once told our small studio that he would rather one of his students be elected mayor than when an architectural award So contribute wholeheartedly to the world around you

    Find what you love Don't be passive Don't simply exist Be involved and create change for the things that you believe in Go all in

    Your work will not go unnoticed For hopefully someone stops, takes a moment, and is grateful for the impact you make Thank you and congratulations, graduates! (Applause) ♫ ♫ (Music playing) ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ (Music playing) ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ (Music playing) ♫ ♫ 10:45 AM (EST)

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