Download UC Davis College of Engineering 2011 Commencement, Student Speaker Darryl Morgan video

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UC Davis College of Engineering 2011 Commencement, Student Speaker Darry...

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  • Description: This is not a transcript of the speech in the video, but the speech as it was originally written. Enjoy!

    On the Shoulders of Giants

    Good afternoon Chancellor, Deans, Administration, Staff, family, friends, and graduates. When I first came to UC Davis, I had no idea of what I wanted to do. At the time, I knew nothing about what it meant to be an engineer. I chose to become an engineer because the courses in the catalog were familiar, but my decision to commit to being an engineer was based on the fact that I could start with nothing but an idea and a blank piece of paper, and end up with something real. What better way to wrap things up at UC Davis than with a review of lessons learned?

    To quote Sir Isaac Newton: "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Education is a collective effort. In order to achieve, we require support from those who came before us. At UC Davis, our engineering program emphasizes the development of relationships between teachers and students. Even though our professors come into our lives for just a season, they teach us lessons that last lifetimes and challenge us to see out as far as we can; as far as, if not further, than they did themselves. There were many times in my education when I just wanted to give up. One of the things that pushed me along was the support from my faculty advisers and professors -- they continually reminded me that they were not against me, saying "we want you to finish." The greatest vision that was shared with me by the staff here is the vision of what they saw in me.

    While college provides many academic challenges, there are also challenges of character. When families send their students away to the university, the expectation is that the students will better themselves. My father always stressed the importance of finishing the things I started, while my mother encouraged me to take pride in my work. We rely on our families to teach us the value of things that cannot be quantified. Our parents teach us how to become men and women, and our siblings share our experiences. Families are a source of inspiration, for when one of us succeeds, we all do. One day, we will start our own families, and in accomplishing what we have today, our relatives can rest assured that we are one step closer to actualizing the dream that they had for us.

    It is said that you can judge a man by the company he keeps, and we are in good company here. A close friend of mine is always reminding me to be aware of my constitution. As engineers, we are often concerned with the constitution of many things, but what about our own constitution? How do we begin to answer the question "what are you made of?"

    It is only one of many contexts in which we can define ourselves, but I believe that the things we do as engineers are not so different from who we are as engineers. We hold fast to the notion that "good enough" is not good enough, because the reward for a job well done is that the job is well done. We understand that even a failed experiment becomes a symbol of progress if we understand how it failed, and why. We stand by our decisions. We lead by example. We are classically trained in the art of science. We are perseverant. We pay attention to detail. In an age where corporate responsibility is becoming more significant, we are charged to uphold and uplift the reputation that precedes us as graduates from UC Davis, and, we are well equipped to do so.

    For me, the draw of being an engineer was that I could start with nothing but an idea and a blank piece of paper, and end up with something real. If you're in this room, then we're not so different. At some point in the lives of every graduating student here today, you had a vision, a dream, or just a curiosity about our constitution that was rooted in success. It is with that collective force that everyone here contributed to the event we are celebrating -- you and the people who care about you had the idea that we graduates could become engineers, and today, that idea becomes real; that blank piece of paper means so much more when it becomes a diploma. We did our homework, we earned this together.

    In closing, I would like to say that the great part of reviewing our lessons learned on the last day of school is that there will be no exam today - the real test is in what we do everyday for the rest of our lives. As human beings, we sometimes question what the meaning of life is. I believe, however, that it is the other way around; that life gives us a set of circumstances and asks us to provide the meaning. We might not have all the answers, but today we are marking our success as a symbol of progress. I would like to thank the UC Davis College of Engineering faculty, our family, and our friends for providing us with shoulders to lean, cry, and stand on throughout our journey here at UC Davis.

    Good luck, and God bless.
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