Whitney Loftesnes' Commencement Address
Good morning. I am honored and pleased to be addressing the Minot State University Class of 2011, as well as the family, friends, faculty and staff that are sharing this day with us. I would like to first congratulate the Class of 2011. We have finally made it! No matter how long each of us has been at this University nor matter how near or far we have come from, today is the day to celebrate our accomplishments.
When I began thinking of ideas of what I was going to share with everyone today, I could not believe how five years of college has passed so quickly. While thinking about all of the events that have occurred since freshmen year, I realized the drastic changes that I have observed at Minot State University as well as within myself. It was so overwhelming to think about how all of this change has taken place, so I had to start at no other point than at the beginning.
When I began searching for colleges during my senior year at Velva High School, I have to say, I was honestly looking to go anywhere but Minot State. I did not think that it was a bad University, but because it was so close to home, I thought I had to get away. After considering other universities, I was quickly convinced after a campus visit and many prayers, that after all, Minot State University would be the chosen place to continue my education. I stand here today and genuinely tell you that it was the right decision. I believe that we are all fortunate to have been a part of the incredible changes that have occurred within this University.
A significant motive for the incredible changes and many new opportunities that have occurred on this campus is the implementation of Vision 2013. This strategic plan has set a clear path of what this University desires to become by 2013, which is a premiere university in the Great Plains, and it has done a tremendous job of implementing its strategy so far.
Although we haven’t always realized that this vision is catapulting the change on campus, vast amounts of opportunities have continually been presented to us throughout our education. The University has provided these opportunities by focusing on improvements in the expectations of teaching, engaging students in campus activities, improvements in student services, internship programs, and extracurricular activities. I have been fortunate to be able to take advantage of many of these improvements throughout the last five years, and I know that many others sitting here today have been granted many of the same opportunities that they are just as grateful for. The most recent improvement that benefited many of us was the renovation of Swain Hall. The renovation has provided a beautiful facility for the students and faculty. In the next year, we will have a new wellness center on campus. Changes like these are proving that Minot State University is a premier university in North Dakota and has so much to offer students.
Strategy five of Vision 2013 focuses closely on providing students with a strong and engaging academic experience for intellectual and personal growth, formation of sound character, and development of abilities and skills required for success in future careers and endeavors. I believe I have seen this strategy change students for the better. I look back at the transformation of myself, and many people here can relate to the same, that from freshman year until today, I have observed personal growth and acquired many valuable skills by taking advantage of the various opportunities that Minot State University has provided. I have enjoyed being deeply engaged on this campus by representing the institution at the national, state and campus levels. Some of the most highlighted opportunities include a study abroad trip to Peru, playing in two national basketball tournaments, implementing a new organization in the College of Business, being a member of the NCAA task force and serving as a senator on Student Government.
While being engaged with activities and organizations, I was also able to take advantage of the on-campus employment opportunities by working in the Interactive Video Network for four years. I most recently was able to utilize the CETL internship program by interning for the Alumni Association and gaining real world work experience. Working on campus has provided me, along with many other students, an opportunity to earn money while attending school, as well as acquire valuable skills that will help me in a future career.
I am proud to say that I am an example of the change with Vision 2013, and I know many of my peers can concur with the same about their selves. It has been an honor to represent such an already successful, yet progressive university, in addition to an outstanding class of graduates. I am very thankful for this opportunity today and would like to extend a thank you from the Class of 2011 to those who were most important to us along this journey.
To the faculty and staff: Thank you for your continued support and the pressure you put on us to accomplish those dreaded deadlines. You weren’t always our favorite because you challenged us, but I will speak for most, and say thank you for making us better learners, better people, and most of all, educated citizens. We value what you have done for us and we will do our best to use what we have learned from you in whatever future pursuits we go after.
To our family and friends: Thank you for your unending support. College is much easier with your help to keep us moving forward, especially when those professors wouldn’t seem to give us a break.
To my fellow classmates: You may not want to hear it now, but the learning has just begun. As we go on our way in different directions, we must believe that we have been undoubtedly prepared for our future, and that we have been instilled with the tools to go confidently in the direction of our dreams because of what we have done with the opportunities at Minot State University. May we use good character, sound judgment and compassion to realize positive achievements in our career, life and service to others.
I will leave with these last words: "Hoy es el fin de algo muy bueno, pero el comienzo de algo mejor. Muchos exitos para nosotros, clase dos mil once."
What I really mean, Class of 2011, is today is the end of something very good, but the beginning of something better.
Best wishes Class of 2011. Dream Big.