The speakers at OSU Institute of Technology’s commencement ceremony for the university’s 211th graduating class shared messages of gratitude and congratulations to the students and their families and friends.
The 185 graduates sat in their caps and gowns at their commencement ceremony in Covelle Hall on Friday, Dec. 14, and heard from keynote speaker Nate Todd, director of Prospective Student Services at OSUIT.
Todd, who has attended many graduation ceremonies during his six years at OSUIT, had the challenge of writing a speech that he hoped would have an impact.
“When I accepted the invitation to be commencement speaker I did not know what I wanted to say. What would I say to the graduates who have given two, three maybe more years to OSUIT? Should this be a typical speech where I give you words of encouragement or tell you the secrets to success,” he said. “So I started thinking. What can I say to you that no one, or just a few, will say to you in your entire career? How can I tell you that your life’s work will be necessary? Well, the only thing I can say is thank you.”
Todd went on to thank students from several disciplines highlighting how valuable they will be in their chosen industry.
“Thank you to the nurses for saving the lives of people you don’t even know… Thank you to my Engineering Technologies graduates. Thank you for your service to society by designing and building the environment around us… Automotive and trucking, thank you for keeping our cars and trucks working,” he said.
He thanked graduates from the School of Energy Technologies; the School of Diesel & Heavy Equipment; the School of Visual Communications; the School of Culinary Arts; and the School of Information Technologies.
“Thank you to our graduates from the Orthotics & Prosthetics program for putting people and their lives back to together… Thank you to the men and women in Construction Technologies. Thank you for overseeing the planning, design and development of projects from its beginning to end… School of Arts & Sciences grads, thank you for allowing OSUIT to be the stepping stone to a better life,” Todd said.
Student respondent Stephen Williams, who graduated from the School of Visual Communications, also conveyed appreciation to his fellow graduates.
“Speaking of thank yous, none of us got here today on our own. So please take a moment to consider the people who were integral to your success while I say thank you to my parents and family, my friends, my instructors, my classmates and my clients,” he said.
Williams, who is already a 20-year alumnus of OSUIT with an Associate in Applied Science in Graphic Design, earned his second degree Friday— an Associate in Applied Science in Photography.
“Even though it’s the hardest thing I’ve probably ever done, for many of you this has been a much bigger test. Many of you made tremendous sacrifices to get to this day. Many of our families made sacrifices as well. Some of you haven’t had a full night’s sleep since 2016, and for some of you this has been a fight to change the course of your lives,” he said. “But having gone through this once before, on this exact campus, I can tell you this— the fight was worth it.”
The hours put in, the miles put on the car, the time away from loved ones, the money spent and sleep lost will all be worth it, Williams said.
“After today we are all certified makers, creators, fixers, builders and healers. So let’s take what we’ve learned at OSUIT and apply it to our whole selves, our whole lives,” he said.
And Todd did have a few pieces of advice to impart to the graduates.
“There are two things I want for you to do today. First, celebrate. Go out tonight and have a little fun. Celebrate what you have done. Celebrate today because you deserve it,” he said. “And second, that if you never again hear these two words again, know that all the people in this room and myself are genuinely grateful to you for making our lives better. Thank you.”