NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (May 15, 2018) - Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey joined the recent graduates of Christopher Newport University to deliver the keynote address at CNU’s 2018 commencement ceremony this past weekend.
CNU’s President, Paul Trible, introduced Dr. Harvey to the audience of thousands, CNU's newest graduates and regaled the crowd with Dr. Harvey’s legendary accomplishments over the past 40 years of his tenure as Hampton University's President. “Hampton University has been absolutely transformed by Bill Harvey’s vision, intellect, passion, and hard work,” Trible said. “Applications have exploded, the quality of students soared, enrollment increased dramatically, a beautiful campus constructed, and world class academic programs and science facilities created. Dr. Harvey’s tenure at Hampton University is one of the great success stories in higher education.”
Dr. Harvey spoke beautifully to the students, alumni, faculty, staff and parents who came to partake in the graduation ceremony, weaving a theme of acting, comparing seeking higher education as being on stage and performing for an audience. “The commencement exercise has been described in many ways, but I like to think of it as a brief intermission between the act of formal academic study and the act of real life,” Dr. Harvey said. “As your participation in this commencement exercises a test, those of you in the 2018 graduating class obviously performed your parts well, you learned your lines, you mastered the meaning and sacrifice of your subjects, the subtleties and nuances of your parts. In the process, you came to a new awareness of intellectual exchange of social interaction of human relations and human understanding.”
Dr. Harvey went on to speak about what this graduating class has had to witness over the last four years, both negative and positive situations, including drug abuse, international terrorism, political unrest, the unemployment rate decreasing and how people came together during national disasters. “Clearly, as graduates of 2018, you have witnessed the best of times and the worst of times and as an actor in this drama, I’m sure that as a result of the changes around you, you have experienced as an actor, a miscued line, an unsuccessful audition; on occasion you became an inept or ailing actor, struggling to survive a performance, yet you knew that the show must go on,” Dr. Harvey said.
As he continued on, Dr. Harvey expressed to the graduates that in the drama of life, the curtain eventually has to come down and their lives are paused between their four year degree experience and the next act of their lives. “When the curtain rises on the act following this day, you will find that your roles have changed, you will no longer be the mere stars and starlets of the production which is to follow, rather you’ll assume the role of directors and producers, the leaders if you will, of the new stars and starlets of the next generation,” Dr. Harvey said.
As Dr. Harvey concluded his address, he charged CNU’s graduating class of 2018 with several goals and doled out expert advice to ensure their futures a great success. “My charge to you is to see the horizon not as a limit, but as an invitation, the torch has been passed to you with the expectation that you’ll hold it higher and carry it farther than those who have walked before you,” Dr. Harvey said. “I’ll tell you what I tell my own graduates, dream no small dreams.” Dr. Harvey also advised CNU’s graduates to save something out of every paycheck, to buy property because it appreciates, stay away from drugs, and support the university that has given them so much the previous four years. “Be positive role models, be leaders in your respective fields, be of service to others,” Dr. Harvey said. “I congratulate you Christopher Newport University class of 2018 on what you’ve already achieved and I say to you, make the world a better place through your continued achievements, the world is waiting for you.”