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Commencement Welcome Spring 2013

Graduates, members of the Board of Regents, President Benson, members of the faculty and staff, parents, distinguished guests, family and friends; it is my pleasure and honor to have the opportunity to address you today as the chancellor of the University of Colorado Boulder.

I know today's graduates join me in extending a special welcome to their family and friends, whose love and support have helped to make this day possible. Please join me in showing our appreciation.

With us today, are many members of the faculty who have guided and mentored these graduates. They have shared their time, knowledge and expertise to help each student reach this important milestone and his or her full potential. Will representatives of the faculty please rise and be recognized?

Graduates, congratulations! Your hard work has brought you to this day. But your work is not done. In fact, it is only beginning. The University Seal you will soon see stamped on your diploma depicts a torch in the hands of youth with a Greek inscription that reads: "Let Your Light Shine."

At the University of Colorado Boulder we have been your vehicle for personal growth that will take you unimagined places in your life. In your academic career at CU-Boulder you have learned valuable lessons in critical thinking, civil discourse, collaborative decision-making and creative solutions, skills that are admired by employers and essential in a complex society.

Personal growth is learning to work collaboratively; learning to work across disciplines. It's the teamwork and real-world experience students learn in their undergraduate research programs where they may control satellites in space, work on biomedical advancements, make films and produce works of art that inspire us.

Personal growth is the innovation and entrepreneurship inherent in your education at CU, and in your student-led sustainability initiatives that have earned CU-Boulder the moniker, "The Greenest University in America."

We see personal growth in the 13,0000 students who participate in community service every year. Service-oriented students become service-oriented global citizens. So it’s no surprise that CU-Boulder alumni, whose ranks you are about to join, have been leaders in Peace Corps service since its inception in 1961.

Your personal transformation—from high school senior to college graduate—prepared you for a life of career and contribution. We live in a fast-paced, digitized world. But the real lessons come more slowly, over time. You cannot download the transformation of a young person. Your parents know that important transformation takes time, and care, and you are testimony to that fact.

I take pride that you are challenged at CU to develop positive personal growth that will remain with you for life. This growth transforms you, your community and indeed the world.

Congratulations. You have earned it. Hold your light high, and lead the way.

Introduction of Julie Andrews

If you are like me, you feel as if Dame Julie Andrews has been a part of your life, as the leading lady in "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music."

Many of us grew up singing the soundtracks to those classics, and for those of you who are younger, your parents undoubtedly taught you the words in your youth. More recently you may be familiar with her roles in "The Princess Diaries" and "Shrek 2." In short, Julie Andrews is a household name, and we are very fortunate to have her in our presence today as our commencement speaker, invited by the Senior Class Council.

Ms. Andrews is a multiple winner of Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammys. She was invested as a Dame Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001. Her career spans over 60 years and includes her enormous success as a best-selling children’s author of more than 27 books.

Dame Andrews is well known for her advocacy of the arts and education. She has spent much of her time off-screen devoted to philanthropic endeavors, including her Ambassadorship to the United Nations for UNIFEM, which is the United Nations Development Fund for Women. Her creation, with her late husband, Blake Edwards, of Operation USA, is a highly mobilized worldwide disaster relief organization.

Ladies and gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to present to you a legend, Dame Julie Andrews!