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Commencement 2017

May 9, 2017

Once again, we have reached the end of a great academic year, and our graduating students have reached the culmination of their college experience.

For them, this is a time for well-earned celebration. But it is also a time to ask a pivotal question:  What now?

I still remember donning my own cap and gown some 49 years ago and wondering where my college degree could take me.

Stepping out into the unknown is never easy, and every graduate’s path will take unexpected detours.

But, like true Mountaineers, our graduates will go on.

And the compass that guides them will be our core University values.

Mountaineers use their knowledge to serve others and make lives better.

They open their hearts and minds to new ideas and maintain a child-like curiosity about the world.

They respect others’ viewpoints even when they do not agree with them.

They respect themselves enough to give their very best effort.

And they appreciate the sacrifices family, mentors and 150 years’ worth of predecessors have made to unlock opportunities.

Mountaineers may leave our campus, but they never leave our family. And they may have reached an important plateau on their life’s journey, but the summit still beckons.

Graduates, in the words of author Edward Abbey: “May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds.”

Let’s go.

E. Gordon Gee signature

E. Gordon Gee
President, West Virginia University