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U.S. Senator Udall offers Commencement Address at Fort Lewis College

Senator Udall gives the Commencement Address on April 28th, 2012

Senator Udall gives the Commencement Address on April 28th, 2012, joined on stage by (l-r) Coordinator of Disability Services Dian Jenkins, Trustee John Wells, President Dene Kay Thomas, and Provost Barb Morris. 

For 450 Fort Lewis College students, one chapter of their lives culminated and a new one began at FLC’s Spring Commencement on April 28. The newest Fort Lewis alumni walk away with degrees in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural and behavioral sciences, and business.

The Commencement Address was offered by U.S. Senator Mark Udall. Appropriate to the beautiful scenery that surrounds Fort Lewis College, Sen. Udall called upon his past experiences as an outdoorsman to encourage the new graduates to seek out adventure and to not shy away from taking risks.

He recalled that while attending college in New England he’d traveled to Colorado and joined an Outward Bound school, a program which teaches through experiences and challenges in the outdoors. That trip ignited a love of Colorado in Sen. Udall and led him to spend the next 20 years working with Outward Bound.

“With that in mind, if you’ll indulge me,” he said, “I want to talk to you not just as a U.S. Senator but as an old mountain climber and fellow outdoors lover and as someone who wanted to follow my dreams when I graduated from college. And what I want to highlight for you today is the value of taking risks, of going on adventures, of dreaming up something crazy and seeing where it takes you.”

Sen. Udall cited his own mother as an example of someone who took a risk, followed a dream, and had an adventure. In her late 50’s, the Senator’s mother joined the Peace Corp and worked in Nepal helping women set up micro-loan projects.

“I was lucky to have her influence in my life,” he said, “because she was a shining example that your attitude dictates the altitude of your adventures. I climb mountains for the same reason my mom joined the Peace Corps – we craved an adventure. And every adventure pushes me one step further than I’ve gone before, toward the new me I know I can be.”

“Life is not a spectator sport – so choose your adventure, engage it and take your place as a citizen of the United States of America, and of the world,” he continued. “And the day after that, pick a different adventure and see where you end up. I promise you, the journey will be worth it.

“And so, in the timeless words of Dr. Seuss, ‘Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So get on your way,’ class of 2012!”

Congratulations graduates! View the Spring 2012 Commencement video and see Senator Udall’s Commencement Address.


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