This is a time of celebration: Celebration of the successful conclusion of one of the most important events ? I believe and I hope ? in terms of shaping you and your future life. I join in those who congratulate you.

As you make the transition from student to alumni, you might want to pause of why, for so many of our alumni, their undergraduate years at UR were such a powerful experience. Certainly, the reasons are varied. But virtually all of them ultimately derive from some of the very special features of undergraduate education at a place like UR:

The formal education ? It is virtually certain that, for most of all of you, this will be the last time you can spend anything like the multiple years focused on education that isn’t explicitly career-oriented. The nature of the liberal arts education you had here is that it is designed to last a lifetime (even though the details of it surely cannot), and it is the influence of that education on lives 10, 20 or 50 years later that, I think, explains at least some of the power of the undergraduate years on our alumni.

The residential experience ? For most of you, the River Campus and The College have been the focus of your life for four or more years ? not just nine-to-five, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And you have shared that focus with other interesting, eclectic individuals who, like you, were immersed in generally common experiences.

The learning, the living and the growing that occurred during your time here is also powerful and memorable. Your experiences ? whether on clubs, in sports, in community involvement or innumerable personal interactions your peers ? are, likewise, a part of what yo utake with you from UR. Many of you will take from here lifelong friendships ? even, sometimes, lifelong companions.

I hope the experience and the education stay with you, and in as powerful of a fashion as they have for generations of graduates that have preceded you. UR and you now have an important and permanent link. We all hope you not only remember your time here, but find time in your busy lives to return to UR and become an active and engaged alumnus or alumnae.

Again, my congratulations to the Class of 2002 on a job well done. You deserve it. Meliora!

Jackson can be reached at

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