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Note: This message was originally shared on the day of commencement, May 6, 2023.

To our soon-to-be graduates—congratulations!  

As Georgia Tech's Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education, I am proud of each one of you; as an alumnus of Georgia Tech, I am excited to welcome you to a very prestigious group of Georgia Tech alumni. I can't wait to see you on stage today at graduation. 

I vividly recall my undergraduate graduation from Tech… sitting in the Alexander Memorial Coliseum (renamed McCamish Pavillion in 2010) waiting nervously for my name to be called; being excited to receive my diploma from (then) President Clough (as in the Clough Building); and knowing my parents, grandparents, and family were in the audience cheering me on. As the oldest of four children, I was the first among my siblings to graduate, so it was a big deal. I could not have been prouder, but at the same time, I was also nervous about what was next. 

In earning your degree from Georgia Tech, you have achieved a huge accomplishment. It is a testament to your hard work, perseverance, and dedication. Over the last four (maybe five) years, I also know it's been a journey, with many accomplishments celebrated and many challenges overcome. Whatever personal journey you took to make it to this milestone today—and it's different for every individual—don't underestimate the power of that journey and the strength you can draw from it. Even though I know it was tough at times, these experiences have prepared you for anything, and most importantly, to continue to reach your goals in life. 

steven girardot and linda green
Photo: Steven Girardot (right) poses for a quick picture with Linda Green (left), Director, Tutoring & Academic Support, at the 2023 Undergraduate Commencement ceremony held on May 6.

In a few weeks, I'll be attending another graduation in a different capacity—as a parent of a kindergartener. I often think about what I hope for my daughter when she's in your shoes, graduating from college and about to embark on her life. While I certainly want her to be successful, I will say that the phrases that come to my mind the most often are "kind," "compassionate," "empathetic," "passionate about her work," and ultimately, "cares about making the world a better place."  

As you are about to embark on the next stage in this journey of life, I hope you, too, will seek to make this world a better place. And, I have so much confidence that you will! In the meantime, enjoy and savor this moment. You've earned it.  

Congratulations—and Go Jackets! 

OUE Spring Graduate Spotlights