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Commencement Speech By Eddie W Kho

Posted On : May 24th, 2010

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ARCO ARENA, MAY 22, 2010

President Gonzalez, Provost Sheley, Trustee Gowgani, Dean Macari, distinguished chairs and faculty, proud parents, family and friends, but most of all, to the graduating class CONGRATULATIONS on your accomplishment!

While preparing to speak before you, I reacquainted myself with my two Sac State diplomas. The four signatories to my BSCE included the Chancellor, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, Governor Jerry Brown, and then Sacramento State President James Bond; yes it was cool to have 007 in charge.

In time you will find that is just the sort of thing we do, paying attention to the details. And so when you receive your diplomas, make sure to not only take in your accomplishment, but also thank the people whose signatures appear on it for their strong support and commitment to your education and your future success in this world. Our current President may not be Mr. Bond; but you will have the Terminator’s mark.

The wonderful thing about engineers and computer scientists is that we possess a quality that is in short supply these days, and that quality is an unwavering optimism in the future and the belief that tomorrow can be better than today. After all, what other profession goes to work trying to imagine something that has never been created, works day and night to see the vision through, fails countless times, but never sees those attempts as failures but as learning experiences upon which to build and grow? This is exactly the kind of persistence that built this nation, and ultimately the kind of creativity that will keep us strong into the future.

One of the things we know about your generation is that the thing you crave above all else is genuineness and connection. According to surveys, you are sworn enemies of all that is phony and superficial in this world. And that is a wonderful thing to be. But I’m puzzled as to how you managed to channel that craving into a voracious appetite for Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other social media. Facebook games like Farmville and Café World have transformed gardening and cooking into virtual reality without a finished product.

It probably doesn’t seem fair to generalize. After all, you're not the only ones addicted to video games and social media. Many of us on stage likely have a Facebook or more likely a LinkedIn account. But it is the fate that falls upon every generation. You end up being responsible for the things that happen on your watch - my generation is still trying to live down disco.

So “what will you miss the most,” and “what will you NOT miss at all from your college days?” You will certainly miss the friendships and camaraderie that were developed, and you will NOT miss studying all night or until the wee hours before a test.

The reality is that the friendships you developed will continue and likely last a lifetime. And the best way to keep in touch is to stay involved and join our Alumni Association.

I had the pleasure of meeting some of you recently at Professor Ken Kerri’s Endowment Luncheon. Two of you: Alejandro Gonzalez and Francisco Lopez sat at the same table with me; And this semester, my firm once again helped one of the CE 190 Teams comprised of Zack Fraser, Art Farrow, Amber Kirk, Kim Nguyen, Mohammed Hussein and Sumair Arif; so as a gesture of my commitment as a life member of our alumni association, I have decided to give them each a grad pack that includes a 2-year membership to our alumni association and our ECS Chapter.

When you step out the doors of ARCO Arena, the continuing exam of life is what awaits you. But what is just as important - perhaps even more important - than what you are capable of doing, is what you choose to do with it.

Engineering and Computer Science has rapidly changed our lives, ranging from huge advancements in manufacturing and personal productivity through both automation and computing power, which was unimaginable just 50 years ago. Ironically, these same innovations that improve our quality of life can also be used to destroy it, if abused. So please do not lose sight of your moral obligations. Prepare yourself for tomorrow’s world. Understand the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration in weaving skills that will promote creativity and innovation, in applying advancements in technology, and in developing products from recyclable and renewable resources that will lead to Green Infrastructure and a more Sustainable World for you and your heirs.

As you leave here today, note that your diploma does not mean the learning is over. In fact, it has just begun. The capabilities you take away from here will help define your time at the helm. Ask yourself: “what will define the character of my era, and what will I do to shape it?”

Enjoy your lives. For many will be indebted to you. All of us will be augmented by you. You have been given the tools to help more people live longer and better lives. Use these tools well, often, and with an open heart and mind.

CONGRATULATIONS to the May 2010 Graduating Class!

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