This past weekend I worked the 507th Convocation at The University of Chicago and found it to be a great experience. As I watched the students receive their diplomas and heard their names called I recognized many from meetings I've had with them over the years to discuss the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, the DAAD, the Boren Scholarship, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, the Freeman-Asia Scholarship or the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship among others. Many students were successful in these competitions and many were not. Regardless of the outcome, many students took a leap and applied to these funding opportunities (some students applied to several) to have a meaningful international educational experience. It is this group of students that I will miss the most. These are the students who want to leave the comforts of their high speed cable/satellite/smart phone/internet connections behind; to be challenged on their viewpoint and to learn about and consider a different perspective; to see the larger world that they have dreamed and read about; and, to make a difference in this world. These are the students I want my children to become!
To the class of 2011 at The University of Chicago, and beyond, I wish you all the best and may you all travel to all corners of this world!