Note: WSU had three commencement ceremonies: 8 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
PULLMAN, Wash. — Begin immediately to help shape your world’s future, urged three speakers during Washington State University commencement exercises today in Pullman.
WSU alumnus Scott E. Carson, Boeing senior vice president, told graduates of the colleges of Education and Business and Economics not to let the anxiety of moving from a nurturing environment of friends, professors and even families “deter you from what you can be.”
He encouraged the new graduates to get on with their life with a sense of urgency.
“…You will need to rapidly adjust from a passion to graduate to a passion now focused on work and a career, and take the steps necessary to take you there,” Carson told those at the 8 a.m. ceremony.
Success will come to those who can overcome their fears and stretch beyond their comfort zone to take chances and grow. Replace fear with the joy of life, work, learning and others, he told the graduates.
Carson, a 1972 WSU business administration graduate, encouraged the Class of 2001 to seek out others and learn from their experiences. “Allow them to open your mind, and you will come away richer,” said the Boeing executive.
He told the graduates that there might not be another time in their life when they have so many options open to them, or so many important choices to make, as they have now.
“Look for the most demanding job you can find because that’s the one that will be the most fulfilling.” Above all, Carson said, “Be true to yourself. Be the author of your own life.”
The WSU graduate added his praise for the university.
“I know of no other institution where you would find professors and advisers who are prepared to do so much for you,” he said of his days at WSU. “They helped me survive, in fact thrive, in much the same way they have aided in your success.”
He and his wife, Linda, have sent three daughters to WSU: Kristina (‘96 Human Development), Kelly (‘99 Hotel and Restaurant Administration) and Shelley, a freshman.
Fritzky says the biotech century will bring hope for many
“The biotech century is yours to conquer,” Edward Fritzky, Seattle, Immunex Corp. president, told the WSU graduates at the 11:30 a.m. ceremony.
“The new products of your generation will bring new hope for health care, new sources of energy, new strategies for food production and new ideas for virtually everything we do,” said the head of one the nation’s leading biopharmaceutical companies and one of 160 biotech companies in the state.
“Products of the biotech century will be ubiquitous by the time you are my age,” said Fritzky, 51. “There will be the expected biotech medicines and foods that will improve health. There will also be the by-products of the biotech revolution that will lead to entirely new approaches in computing, mining, energy, defense and cosmetics.”
One brand-new field in biology — called biomimicry — is already producing commercial breakthroughs. Swimmers at the Sydney Olympics wore bodysuits that mimicked sharkskin, for example, while scientists are now studying plant leaves to learn how to build “more efficient solar cells,” Fritzky said.
“I consider myself fortunate to be here in the state of Washington where there is so much scientific and entrepreneurial energy,” he added.
He reminded the WSU graduates that James Watson was just 24 when he, with Frances Crick, discovered the DNA double helix, the code of life.
“Now I ask you, how long will it be before you change the world?”
EchoHawk reminds graduates of their power to change
Commencement speaker Larry EchoHawk, former Idaho attorney general, told the WSU graduates that no matter how difficult, the opportunity for an education must be available for all people.
“The promise of an education is not realized by everyone,” the professor at the J. Reuben Clark Law School, Brigham Young University, said. “Higher education is not available to everyone.
“With the addition of higher education, you will be able to change the lives of other people in need,” EchoHawk told graduates of the College of Liberal Arts. “My message to you is to use education as a power to change. Use education to do more than make a living; use it to serve.”
EchoHawk is vice president of the American Indian Services Inc. National Advisory Board and serves on the board of trustees. In 1991, he was the first American Indian in U.S. history elected as a state attorney general. A Pawnee Indian Tribe member, he earned his undergraduate degree from BYU and a law degree from the University of Utah.
EchoHawk’s career started as a legal services attorney, working for impoverished Indian people in California. Later, he opened a law practice in Salt Lake City before serving more than eight years as tribal attorney for the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes at Idaho’s Fort Hall Indian Reservation.
This was the university’s 105th annual ceremony and the first in which V. Lane Rawlins presided since becoming WSU’s eighth president last June.
More than 2,000 undergraduates, 345 master’s and 65 doctoral degrees will be granted. Also participating in today’s exercises were graduates from the December 2000 class and candidates for degrees in August.
Rawlins will deliver addresses this week when WSU Tri-Cities holds its graduation exercises May 18 and WSU Vancouver May 19 on their campuses.
WSU Spokane and the Intercollegiate College of Nursing/WSU College of Nursing held their ceremonies May 11 at the Spokane Opera House.