Charge to the Graduates

Delivered by GW President Steven Knapp
GW Commencement on the National Mall
Washington, DC
May 17, 2009

I am honored to welcome the Class of 2009 into the life-long and worldwide community of GW alumni. You are exceptional men and women and I am proud to call you graduates of the George Washington University.

This is an exciting day for you and the family and friends who have supported you throughout your educational journey. We gather in this majestic setting on the National Mall to celebrate your accomplishments, applaud your hard work and perseverance, and to honor your deep commitment to being an active and engaged citizen of your community, nation, and world.

This year you had a front row seat at the theater of history. You were fortunate to have witnessed the inauguration of our 44th President, Barack Obama ---- and to have participated -- to have participated in the Inaugural Parade and attended an Inaugural Ball. Today that excitement we all felt continues and has continued as we welcomed our Commencement Speaker. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, thank you for that address.

My charge to you today is to keep alive your spirit, energy, and commitment to public service, keep participating and contributing and challenging others to do the same. You are our future leaders and will no doubt make a real difference in the world. I know you will not only answer the call to service, you will continue to lead the way.

As you go forth to do great things, always carry GW with you and always know that the George Washington University -- at the George Washington University you have a home in the heart of the nation's capital.

Best wishes to you all.