tv University of Utah Commencement Address CSPAN May 23, 2015 7:23pm-7:47pm EDT
destroy the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance. one person can't do much, well, gandhi did it in india, martin luther king did it in the united states, nelson mandela did it in south africa. what we don't need to be a gandhi or a martin luther king or a nelson mandela, to make a difference in the life of just one person. let me tell you about one of the best days of my life. it wasn't when i graduated from west point. it wasn't when i graduated from the university of utah. it wasn't when i was given the opportunity to serve as the chairman and ceo of the proctor and gamble company or as the secretary of veterans affairs. one of the best days of my life was when i saw a paralyzed veteran wounded in combat walk. get up from their wheelchair as if they have been able to do that for 40 years and walk.
some might call it the miracle and in a sense it was miraculous, but not in the way you might think. his name was billy, and he could walk because some good people trained him on how to use a device we call the exoskeleton. it wasn't so much about getting someone to walk. that is important. but it is important because of what happens when you don't walk . when you don't walk, your muscles atrophy. your bones become brittle. and your gastrointestinal system stops working the way that it should. so an important aspect is getting the human body to function properly again. but to billy, the most important thing was this. he could look you in the eye again. it was that simple. talking about being able to look
another person in the eye. it was about his sense of human dignity. the miracle wasn't billy standing, it was his sense of purpose that guiding light -- his sense of purpose. that guiding light that drove people to make a profound difference in the life of more than just one person. others will follow. tonight is a great moment to dedicate or rededicate ourselves to this quest -- finding our purpose, making a difference in the life of just one person. don't wait for that one big decision. don't wait for that one big opportunity. start right now. if you get in the habit, the rest will follow. if you are right about no longer being his -- worried about no longer being a student after this evening, don't. the a student every day. life is a great deal to teach us
all. it and congratulations. -- thank you very much and congratulations. [applause] announcer: the graduates of american university heard commencement remarks from catherine sullivan, who heads the national oceanic and atmospheric administration. she holds the distinction of being the first american woman to walk in space. she talked about her time and space and the perspective she gained from the experience. this is 15 minutes. [applause] kathryn sullivan: esteemed faculty, friends and family, and of course, graduates of the class of 2015, i am honored to join you today for this joyous occasion.
graduations always remind me of the first time i sat on the launchpad of the kennedy space center aboard the challenger. you didn't expect that, did you? [laughter] kathryn sullivan: like all you guys, i was stressed out that day in and uncomfortable for an outfit and was forced -- foreign outfit and was forced to sit through an elaborate ritual that just would not end. [laughter] like you the anticipation of what was about to happen to me was a bit overwhelming. preparing to be thrust into uncharted territories exhilarating yet mildly terrified for what was to come. like a lot of you, i questioned what i was ready -- if i was ready for what lay ahead. i knew every detail of the countdown procedure that was unveiling around us. and i was well versed in all the scientific experience --
experiments i was response before. not to mention i understood every detail of the space suit that protected me when i flew out of the shuttle. i still couldn't help but wonder if all my hard work and ask -- an extensive technical training had prepared me for my next step as the first american woman to walk in space. before i start driving on, let's turn it back to you guys for a bit. american university has provided all of you with opportunities that auster your inner -- that have fostered your intellectual development creativity and spirit. today, you are united by that. but the real strength you take with you comes in the diversity of perspectives amongst you. as i look out on this assembly, i see future leaders eager to develop the solutions of the problems of today and take on the challenges of tomorrow. for each of you, today is undoubtedly a day to look join
-- filled with joy, relief and satisfaction. it is the coleman nation of a four or five year journey. but for one of you, this journey took a lot longer about 31 years longer. since taking his first higher education class 35 years ago steve studied buddhism in nepal got married, answered your numerous questions at the i.t. helpdesk, and never shied away from hard questions. when asked what it means to him to walk across the stage steve does not hesitate. he explains that his au education developed within him a better understanding of the world. for family in this audience, this is a very special day filled with great pride, as you watch the very first member of your family receive a college degree. what a fabulous [applause]
moment and tremendous achievement. -- a fabulous moment and tremendous achievement. [applause] i suggest that i suggest that today is a day to revel in your differences and celebrate the environment that the university has provided and learning about the exploration of those differences. on this day, we celebrate more than just your journey to this moment we celebrate the capacity that the journey has instilled in you for the road ahead. that is why i i am so -- why i am so excited to be with you today. at t -30 seconds, we got the final go for lunch. before we could blank, the shuttle leapt off the pad.
we were off to infinity and beyond. any worries or hesitation that i felt before, it is seriously too late now. [laughter] within minutes, we were over england, and i got my first glimpse of this little blue marble called earth. i was overwhelmed with the beauty of our planet, entranced with how her systems ebb and flow with each other. from that vantage point, one can hardly make out anything the -- than land and sea and atmosphere. geographic borders are gone. that cosmic adventure inspired me into a new perspective and one which dramatically shaped who i am today. during your time at american university, you have been blessed with an environment that has encouraged similar exploration, albeit with more gravity and much better food. au challenged you to consider
the world in a different way and in doing so, the university shielded you from the dangerous collective acceptance and complacency. today, this institution will hand each of you a diploma to recognize your achievement. you will be told that this document attests to your accomplishment and will prove to people, potential employers, for example, that you are ready to contribute to society. that is not quite right. your to -- your diploma, after all, is not just a piece of paper. it does not say anything about the value about what you gained at american university. there is one thing on the diploma that does speak to that, the only thing that speaks to that, and it is your name on that certificate. your name represents who you became in reaching for this
recognition. it represents all of the investments that you made towards that moment today. and embodies all of those late-night and the thankless hours that you spent working at a job on capitol hill. the resolve to press forward that you had to date deep to muster after just barely passing a class in a subject that was well beyond your comfort zone. also, your willingness to allow the differences you encountered to unite you with your colleagues and a lead you to engage in expiration in new points of view. your name on that diploma is also a reminder of the hard work and sacrifice in vested on your -- invested on your behalf by the people who challenged and
supported you to this moment. just like a rocket launch, college graduation is much more than a moment of individual achievement. this was were many who stayed up late for hours, struggled with the impossible, and put our quest for their own concerns. remember and thank those people today. carry the lesson of their sacrifice with you on the next leg of life's journey. pay their gift forward to others who are on grand or difficult journeys. as of tomorrow, and american university will no longer provide you with this wonderful space for intellectual exploration, this protection against complacency and groupthink. you are about to be transformed -- projected into a massive world of tribal schisms and all
of this is happening amongst systemic trust of global institutions. so, next generation, how will you continue to grow in perspectives? how will you develop the foundational understanding that you leave this campus with into a force for good? are you ready? for me, the experience of being in space led me to understand that the most pressing challenges of my world for the -- were in fact those circling us every day. circling the world every 90 minutes for days on end became clear to me that all of us here on earth are linked to each other. there is no "i" or "them," we are one. our very existence everyone of us is completely dependent in that little blue marble that we could hold in our hand.
i came to believe that we owed it to ourselves to make good on that point of view. it was this newfound perspective that led me to leap into my next professional adventure, putting scientific understanding of the earth to work for all of us. and so when i returned to earth, i built, not found, but built, a career focused on achieving that outcome. my work has allowed me to make good on this and contribute to the problems most pressing of our times and most vital to our futures. these great challenges, like so many in the past, can only be solved by coming together and thinking of the generations yet to come. this will take listening to each other, learning and reaching to new perspectives, decisively to have the sense of learning that american university has
instilled in you. you must check personal agendas at the door and work towards a collective. you have been subjected to more diverse backgrounds and experiences that many people will ever come to know. i hope you have realized through this that it was only by taking the time to stop and listen that you were able to grow and learn. your experience at au has also provided you with much more than an academic credential. you head off into this world with ideas and ideals, and with passion and purpose, and with a strong sense of what it takes to build a community and how vital community is to life. so i am sure that the answer to my earlier question about your readiness for the next step is yes, you are well prepared for what lies ahead. in due time, you will surely
forget the name of mona a's most famous impressionistic painting -- many things, like monet's most famous impressionistic painting, but you will surely not forget what american university has instilled in you. we all must strive to never become complacent in our quest to seek out more understanding of how our world works, and perspective is what allows us to find happiness and true meaning in our lives. your journey to new perspectives actually begins today. i encourage you to search for controversy, for contrast that is both revealing and catalytic. to use your ears more than your mouth. for learning can only happen when we pause to listen. to take the challenging path, always and to not the afraid of the change. like gravity, it is just kind of everywhere forever. resistance is futile. [laughter] and always be a better neighbor.
not because it is expected of you, because it makes you a better person and you know it is the right thing to do. the gift of education and the habit of exploration have prepared each of you to be leaders in your careers, your communities, and your families. cherish this and make it count. communities made up of people who listen keenly, think deeply, and act wisely are those that are most able and perhaps only able to create progress and peace. we owe this to ourselves, we owe this to each other. and we owed this to the little blue marble we call earth. please know that each of you has my greatest admiration and i congratulate you and wish you each the very best of luck. [applause]
an answer: -- announcer: we will have more commencement speeches tomorrow. jason kilar: a day after arriving in los angeles, my mother tearfully told me over the phone that my dad had taken his life. he was 47, a kind and loving husband of 30 years. a proud and loving father and put himself through school earning three degrees.
the man i had admired the most and the men who had taught me so much was gone -- man who had taught me so much was gone, the man who i had seen in this very stadium. things had gone orlie in the -- poorly in the weeks that follow. the movie production job that i had gone for did not work out and i was soon let go. this was also the time that i learned through the help of the northridge police department that the northridge parking dec k was not looking forward to former students living out of their subaru hatchback each night. i soon found myself working in a temp agency back home at a t.j. maxx. i was personally lost and professionally about as far from my dreams as one could be. announcer: and again, a look at
this year's commencement speakers continues tomorrow on noon eastern at -- here on c-span. announcer: before and churning for a week-long recess, the senate granted president obama authority to negotiate trade deals with other countries. 62 senators voted in favor of the bill, which now heads to the house for consideration. michigan senator debbie stevan oh -- stabenow was defeated, and here is what she said for the vote. sen. stabenow: mr. president, we want to add two more cosponsors today, senator hester and senator markey, and that brings
us to a total of 35 cosponsors on this very important and common sense and amendment outlining the importance of the biggest 21st century trade barrier, and that is currency manipulation. i want to thank everyone who is joining together to cosponsor this. i also know there is a tremendous amount of energy going on to defeat this amendment going on in this last day and a lot of amendments -- comments made on the floor, and i want to first of all say that -- in response to comments from someone i have great respect for, the senator from tennessee who has an incredibly report and -- incredibly important role on policy issues, i would caution that we would call support for
manufacturing, whether it would be auto or others, or supply trains, or manufacturing when we talk about protecting american jobs, i would point to the fact that there is a very important company of coal in tennessee that just received advanced technology vehicle loans and i was proud to offer -- author that bill. they make aluminum, as we all know, and they are retooling to be able to benefit from ford motor company's policy of moving to aluminum to take 700 pounds out of the f-150 truck to make it more energy efficient and alcoa is benefiting a tennessee company. i don't consider that alone or a bailout anymore than i would consider anymore loan programs
that are put together for a manufacturing bailout, but i would suggest that we have literally millions of jobs across the country connected to this supply chain, whether it is auto, whether it is his washers what ever -- whether it is dishwashers, what ever is, we have manufacturers large and small telling us that if we are going to move forward and give negation -- small telling us that if we are going to move forward and have negotiations on a trade agreement on 40% of the global economy in asia that we better understand that the number one trading barrier used by asian companies is currency manipulation. number one. and i find it astounding. it would almost be funny if it wasn't so crazy.
these arguments, on the one hand that somehow setting up a negotiating principle and just saying, if we can negotiate -- if we do guess you something on currency we have a lot of words, years and years and years and lots and lots and lots of currency manipulation, but this time if we want to agree on something, we want it to be enforceable, and that would some bring down the trans-pacific partnership -- somehow bring down the transpacific partnership. that sounds like a not a very good agreement overall. and we are continually hearing on the one hand that these are getting better with china and japan does not do this anymore the bank of japan does not