Leadership Profile

What's Happening at Cedar Crest College

Student Commencement Speaker: 'Cedar Crest has...turned us into powerful and self-confident leaders'Elizabeth Statham

Elizabeth Statham of Bangor, Pa., a theatre and community education graduate, gave the student address at the Cedar Crest College Commencement on May 15, in essence telling her roughly 405 fellow graduates that they are well prepared to be successful leaders in their careers and life. Below is the full address:

“Good morning! First of all, let me extend a warm welcome to the parents, family members and friends of all of the graduates. Welcome to Cedar Crest. And to my fellow graduates, congratulations!

Approximately three years, eight months, twenty days and six hours ago, the future class of 2010 stood on this very quad and gathered around a bell. That bell was rung four times, each ring signifying one of the years that we would spend here at Cedar Crest. But what that symbolic act did not show was the change that would occur within that time frame. We are not the same people that stood on this quad so many days ago. If nothing else, many of the people that stood with us then are not here with us today. Some transferred; others either graduated early or are staying late.

Despite the friends that we have lost, new friends have joined our group to make up the powerful assembly of graduates that now stands before me. But the change that this group has endured goes way beyond the simple members that make up this class. We have changed. We went from a group of high school seniors, naïve in so many ways, to a fine group of leaders, ready to take on the world.

That change did not always come easy. The hours upon hours upon hours that were spent in lab, the Crestiad office, the HBB, the theatre. And all of that was on top of the 17, 18, 20, 25 credits that we would all be pulling in a particular semester. Plus all of the work study jobs and the clubs and the honor societies. The sleepless nights caused because you did not have any other time in the day to do that paper due at 9 the next morning. But somehow all of the trials and all of the stress served to make us stronger. We have overcome it all. And despite all of that turmoil, I am willing to bet that most of us, if not all of us, would not change anything.

So now what? We have established that we are not scared little freshmen and that all of that pain and stress was actually worth something. So where do we go from here? Today we will be packing up our rooms and leaving campus, ready to move on to different things. Some of us will not be leaving academics just yet, ready to move on and gain a graduate degree or two. Others are moving on to the work force, despite the lack of stability in the current job market. Maybe some are even going to try and do both. But are we ready? Can we really handle the new pressures that grad school and a full-time job bring?

Personally, I believe that we can. Think back to all that we have done and all that we have accomplished. All of that has served to prepare us as we enter the next chapter of our lives. Cedar Crest has taken us, a group of unprepared high school seniors, and turned us into powerful and self-confident leaders ready to take on the world. I could stand up here and rattle off a bunch of platitudes that make you feel good for the moment, but I won’t. And not just because I know that you will forget them all tomorrow.

I will not give platitudes and empty reassurances, because I feel that they are unnecessary. I have been with you for four years and I have seen the amazing things that this class is capable of. I know this class and the people that make it up. And I truly believe with all of my heart that you will make not only your friends and family proud, but you will make this college proud. You will serve as a representation of the success a women’s college can produce. And you will all do it with the same dedication, passion and intensity that you have shown in the past four years.

So congratulations, class of 2010! And even though I doubt you will need it, good luck as you move on to the next phase of your life. Thank you.”