||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Conderman Delivers 'Charge to the Class'|
During UW-Eau Claire Winter Commencement
MAILED: Dec. 18, 1998|
A purposeful life includes a lifestyle that is characterized by service, the virtues associated with character and the perspective of living each day to its fullest without regret, Greg Conderman told candidates for degrees during Saturday's winter commencement exercises at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"I encourage you to extend your hand to others, show compassion, work hard, play fair, find your passion and go after it, be willing to stand up for what is right, be strong, love justice, let your words be a blessing to others, seek wisdom, pursue knowledge and remember never, never give up," Conderman said.
Conderman, associate professor of special education and the recipient of the 1998 Excellence in Teaching Award, delivered the "Charge to the Class" to the 701 candidates for degrees during morning and afternoon ceremonies in Zorn Arena. His speech was titled "Living with Purpose."
During his address, Conderman challenged students to think about what values have they adopted as their own, what ways of thinking will guide their future decisions, and how will the world be better because of them.
"I pose these questions to you because I believe that each one of you has a purpose a specific purpose," Conderman said. "I believe that you are more than your degree. You are more than all the OKs on your degree audit. You are more than the total number of credits you have accumulated. You are more than an impressive resume. You are a unique individual with specific gifts, talents, passions, skills and abilities. And all of these are desperately needed in a needy, broken and hurting world."
There are countless needs in the world, thus countless ways for individuals to make a difference, Conderman said.
"You certainly might be the one to discover a cure for AIDS or establish the means to curb world hunger, but just as important, you might be the one to offer hope to the child who needs a listening ear, share a thoughtful deed to the neighbor widow or offer a kind word to the outcast," Conderman said.
"Remember, the world needs you," he said. "You don't have to look far to see a need, but you do have to look."
The needs of others won't wait until people feel like they are ready to give; thus it's important to make service a part of a lifestyle, Conderman said.
Conderman also reminded the graduates that character does count.
"You know you are a person of character when you can go to sleep at night and feel secure in your spirit; knowing that you lived that day doing what you were supposed to do," Conderman said. "Perhaps more than anything else in our society today, we need people of character, people of courage and people of integrity."
Finally, Conderman challenged the graduates to live each day to its fullest. "The truth is that we are never promised a tomorrow," he said.
"Maybe today, in the midst of your celebration, there's someone who you need to thank," he said. "Maybe there's someone who has supported you, encouraged you, laughed with you or cried with you. Don't let this day go by without saying thanks. Maybe today you are harboring anger, unforgiveness or bitterness in your spirit. What better day than today to start a new beginning. Don't let the day go by without, to the best of your ability, making peace with yourself, your fellow man and your Creator.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 21, 1998