Bryant University’s 2022 Student Charge was delivered on Saturday, May 21, by Paul Theriault ’22. Below is the transcript of his speech.
Members of the Board of Trustees, President Gittell, Honorable Provost, distinguished Deans and Faculty, Staff, Families, Friends and Graduates. Welcome to the Class of 2022 Commencement.
In September of 2018, many of us left home fully prepared to embark on some of the best years of our lives. And while it may seem a rite of passage to expect such an outcome, I believe, in truth, Charles Dickens might have described the past four years in the following way: It was the best of times. It was the worst of times – the age of wisdom and a season of darkness. In this very parking lot four years ago, we excitedly contemplated the unknown, asking ourselves: What does it really mean to Be Bryant?
Yes, to Be Bryant means we are innovative, we are inclusive, and we are real-world ready. However, as class we could not afford to simply consider this question, but also prove ourselves worthy by navigating one the most difficult times for education in recent history. We had to achieve these things often times in isolation, through protective masks, and muffled lectures – while also negotiating our anxieties and sometimes solemn moods. And so, we rose to the occasion.
As we prepare to depart campus, we leave behind our own definitions of what it means to Be Bryant. To the Class of 2022, this means resilience and community, joining together to celebrate accomplishments and overcome adversity. Despite our inherent competitive natures and some unforeseen setbacks, we have celebrated our peers’ successes in professional, athletic and academic arenas. We witnessed our classmates organize incredible campus events – like i2i, TedX, BUNEEC, Extravaganza, Big Bingo, Derby Days and many more. We empathetically shared their trials and tribulations. And we will continue to proudly represent Bryant wherever we go – whether our travels take us abroad or to local communities.
Being Bryant Strong means turning obstacles into opportunities, challenges into choices, and vanquishments into victories. We have developed a mindset that no challenge is too small to conquer – whether it’s using your entrepreneurship skills to start a business, conducting innovative research across multiple disciplines, adapting to new forms of learning or trying to cram as many people as possible into a car on our way back from Fins.
Today, we drive off campus with new purpose and a broader vision than when we arrived four years ago. We cross the finish line with lasting memories and friendships, and an education that has prepared us for successful futures – both personally and professionally – a good run, for sure.
Our collective and individual experiences, as well as our achievements over these past 1,358 days, have defined what it means to be a Bulldog. The Class of 2022 will continue to achieve excellence, continue to maximize every moment life gives us, and continue in our efforts to turn the worst of times into the best of times.
Thank you and good luck, my fellow Bulldogs!