The strength, the integrity and the hope

143rd Oregon State University Commencement Speech:

It is with great honor and privilege as Student Body Madam President and on behalf of the Student Body Vice President Sokho Eath that we welcome the Class of 2012. As the first-ever Polynesian Madam President and Cambodian Mr. Vice President in Oregon State history, it has truly been an adventurous, accomplished and fulfilling year for Sokho and I.

We will never forget this year:  the tears, laughs, challenges and triumphs. We are deeply grateful for the lifelong friendships we’ve built and will never forget your kindness in the darkest moments and joyous embrace in the best of days. With deep gratitude and respects, we humbly thank you all for the opportunity and honor bestowed upon us to serve as Student Body Madam President and Mr. Vice President for the 2011-2012 school year, Class Presidents for the amazing Class of 2012.

For those privileged to have their father’s present, Happy Father’s Day!

A warm thank-you to President Ed Ray, our faculty, advisers, mentors, support and professional staff for their devotion and leadership for another strong, progressive and successful year for Oregon State University.

Lastly, on behalf of Oregon State University, the City of Corvallis and the great state of Oregon – Our deepest gratitude to honorable First Lady Michelle Obama and family for humbly accepting the invitation and participating in such an auspicious and celebratory day for Oregon State University’s Class of 2012.

TONGA-HOPOI2-280x200From who I thought I was to who I came to be, I am truly the better with my time here at Oregon State University. I have grown leaps and bounds as a leader, friend, daughter, student and global citizen. With my time at Oregon State University, I’ve lost my father, sister and just recently my older brother over Spring break. In the words of a dear mentor, “Life has no time for anyone of us thus we must make the most of the time we have”.  And I set out to do just that; with my time here I found a major I love, volunteered with countless student organizations, studied on a sunny day in the beautiful Memorial Union quad but most importantly as the whole is greater than the sum of the parts… I’ve had the greatest honor to serve as your Class Madam President.  The pride I have brought to my Polynesian, Pacific Islander community and for people whoever stood for something or cared for others more than themselves… completing this year is beyond words a magnificent feat. Something I never could imagine to become: a beacon of hope, integrity and strength for our generation.

This year has proven to be the best of me, relentlessly challenging my values and beliefs. This year pushed me to accomplishment feats beyond my wildest dreams in gaining legislative approval for the Student Experience Center and reminding me that true leadership comes from a solid foundation as I confronted the controversies in my President’s Address this past Winter quarter.

I would not have made it through this year had it not been for you all, my hope to be here and supporting you all on sealing an amazing journey here at Oregon State University. With all that I’ve been through this administration, the person I developed in to as madam president is an honest reflection of the class I represent: The Strength, The Integrity and The Hope. We are testaments to the great mission of Oregon State University, a deep love for our community and the future and the well being of our neighbors. We have truly become better with our time here and on this day, you all have proven to be the best. The road less traveled has taken up and today, the destination is so sweet.

As I stand here today, I am humbled by the achievement of my peers.  The difficult path it takes to be where you are today, the parallels in our journey as students to graduates. Living out the promise of our Oregon State University and its commitment to Healthy People, Healthy Planet, and Healthy Economy.

From the first day Oregon State University as Oregon Agricultural College opened its’ doors, it was in the hope and vision for moments like today. A moment when OSU makes dreams come true and a mission fulfilled.

A moment that stands as an embodiment of sacrifices, perseverance and commitment in the long hours when the Valley Library seems like a second home and Blackboard becomes a lifeline. To the Class of 2012, today is your moment. Today, you are the pinnacle of Oregon State University, the dream of your communities and the hopes of your loved ones fulfilled.

My wish to you as that your future life will, in fact, bear witness to the foundations of our university’s strategic plan ­ may you enjoy personal health, may you always be good stewards of our planet, and may you find a prosperous and fulfilling life¹s work.

In closing, I leave you with our Oregon State University Creeds, the lifeblood of our Alma Mater:

“I believe in Oregon State,

Builder of men, women and community,

Seeker after truth

Organized for the service of a great commonwealth.

I believe in her traditions,

A heritage from the deeds and dreams of yesterday;

In her sportsmanship and honor,

A reality with the students of today;

In her aspirations and ideals,

The assurance of a magnificent tomorrow.

I believe in her democracy

And her far-reaching bond of Beaver brotherhood, sisterhood and community;

And I realize that since she has accepted me as a Beaver,

If I degrade myself, I degrade her,

As I honor myself, I honor her.

I therefore pledge to her, my Alma Mater,

My loyalty, my love and my devotion.”

To the amazing Class of 2012: Our strength, Our integrity and Our Hope. On moments as today, your day, the possibilities of a better tomorrow are certain and bright. With acclamation, we bid you adieu – Congratulations on such a magnificent feat – From the Trysting Tree to the Shady Slopes, you will be truly missed but never forgotten.

Ofa lahi atu kiate kimoutolu hono kotoa,

With deep and abiding gratitude, respects and affection:

Go Beavs!

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