Senior speaker Shannon Zogran ’19 told her fellow graduates during her speech to “be selfish and to be selfless.” In that, she encouraged the Class of 2019 to engage in a pioneering spirit to not “waste a day doing something you do not love” but to “make sure to help some people, or even a lot of people along the way.”
Here is her full speech as she shared it during the May 11 Commencement ceremony with the Class of 2019:
Hello Carroll University Class of 2019. We made it! We truly made it. Here we are sitting surrounded by faculty, staff, family, friends, and other loved ones who have been our biggest supporters, mentors, and people who have truly made us into who we are today.
To those of you who are one of those supporters, mentors, and generally amazing and impactful people, welcome and thank you for being here. For those of you who are moms or grandmas, thank you for taking the time this weekend to celebrate your graduate and happy early Mother’s Day.
Now, Class of 2019, as we sit among our peers today, I hope each of you is feeling bittersweet. As we think back about our Carroll experience I hope you are excited to receive your diploma and for what your future brings but also reminiscent upon the wonderful times and experiences you had here. Although it is exciting to be done with writing papers until midnight in the library, you won’t be stopped by another Waukesha train, you won’t have to speed walk up the hill from frontier hall to your class in Main, there will still be many aspects of our college experience that we will miss.
Move-in Day, Homecoming Weekend, Spring Fling, Late Night Breakfast, and of course eating at the infamous El Palmar restaurant.
Even though we won’t miss the stress of school, we will miss the camaraderie that came with being in the library for endless hours during midterms and finals, sharing meal swipes and dining dollars with your fellow Pios who were in dire need of coffee at the end of the semester, and our classmates who turned into good friends. Hold on to these small moments as you leave campus and remember that Carroll is where you found your second home, and where you learned to be an impacting Pioneer.
While it is important to remember the many incredible and crazy memories we made at Carroll, it is also important to remember and recognize the people who got us to this moment and to look for what we want to accomplish in the future.
Oprah Winfrey once said “A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.” Whether you realize it or not, the reason you are here and graduating with a college degree is because you had people in your life to guide you, to support you, to mentor you and to give you hope and encouragement when you needed it most. Whether that person was your professor, a parent, a classmate, or even just a nice adorable lunch lady named Gert, you have had people on your side and pushing you along your path over the last four years. I think what is incredible about these guides and supporters in your life is that although they have been helpful and impactful during your college experience, you can most likely say with confidence that your relationship with them will not end when you cross this stage. The unique thing about Carroll is that this institution values relationships and mentorship.
These cheerleaders you have that profoundly impacted your experience here are your cheerleaders for life, and I can encourage each one of you to continue to cultivate these relationships. I also encourage each of you to think of at least one mentor who had a profound impact on you and who cheered you on every step of the way while at Carroll. Find them today and thank them.
Lastly, as we look to our futures and everything we can accomplish, I challenge each of you to be selfish and to be selfless. Yes, you heard that right: be selfish and be selfless. Winston Churchill once said “we make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
As Pioneers, we are continuously taught to have a pioneering spirit. Be the first, come up with a new idea and put it into action, accomplish incredible things. Each of you should go out into the world and hold high expectations of yourself to continuously achieve. Be selfish and take advantage of each and every opportunity that comes your way. Do not waste a day doing something you do not love.
Yet, while you are on this pioneering path to achievement and greatness, make sure to help some people, or even a lot of people along the way. As Mahatma Ghandi once said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.” Go shake up the world, pioneers, but be gentle and be kind while you do it. There are countless things in this country and this world that need fixing, take advantage of opportunities but do so when they benefit both you and the people around you. Be selfish in your pursuits, but be selfless in the impact you have. Remember to help your community and your country, and to be the mentor you needed when growing up.
I want to leave you all with a quote from Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
Thank you all for being here today to celebrate the class of 2019! I wish you all the best and hope you take the time to thank your cheerleaders, to live a selfish and selfless life, and to remember this incredible place we call Carroll University. Now go out into the world and cast ripples, Pioneers!