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Student Daniel Looney’s Speech
Thank you Vice President McCourt… President Lahey,
Members of the Platform Party, Friends and Family, and most
importantly the Class of 2004, I am honored to have the
opportunity to speak to you today.
Four years ago on a day much like today, many of us
were told “College will be the best four years of your life.”
This seemed to be so obvious. Of course staying up all night,
meeting new people and partying for four years would be the
best. Isn’t that what we signed up for? For some of us the
answer is yes… but fortunately enough we accidentally signed
up for much more. If only college was four years of Senior
Week. When we think about the best four years we often think
about the fun we had, but overlook what it is that actually
makes those four years the best. These years have been the
best because of what we have learned about ourselves, each
other and the world that surrounds us.
What you have taught me at Quinnipiac, as my friends,
my acquaintances, and peers is priceless. I have learned about
the importance of meeting new people, and creating different
experiences. With every different experience comes a new
education. Some of the best advice I have received was from a
teacher who recently told me to never think of College as a
vocational school. Our experiences at Quinnipiac provide us
with the opportunity to learn from… and about ourselves and
each other. Conversation, confrontation, and exchange allow
us, through person to person contact, to learn from others.
Without these… I would still think it took longer than three
days to reach the moon.
The melting pot of Quinnipiac brings people from the
most diverse backgrounds to one universal education system.
This education far exceeds the education of going to or sleeping
through classes 4-5 days a week. Only in college can a person
from rural Massachusetts like myself, have the opportunity to
live with a stranger from Brooklyn and learn the ways of city
folk. We have all led a sheltered existence prior to college, and
upon graduating have peaked out of that shelter and lowered
our level of ignorance.
Through these experiences, I can determine one of the
most significant things I have learned at this university is the
importance of having an opinion and being able to voice and
advocate that opinion. Many of us do this when debating the
Yankees and the Red Sox, but sports are quite different than
politics. Neither Nomar nor Jeter, can lower our gas prices or
improve our economy. This is exactly why as Americans and
people we cannot ignore the issues, and do as most of us Red
Sox fans do during the World Series and change the channel.
As long as we are humans, the decisions made by politicians
affect us and changing the channel only hinders progress. This
is particularly relevant in this election year. Whether you love
or hate a candidate choose one and make your voice heard.
Choose the one you most agree with, or the one you disagree
with the least and make the choice to vote in November.
The most important gift we are given at birth is our voice.
We have the ability to stick up for ourselves and be our own
advocate as well as stick up and advocate for those who need it.
We are now better at fighting our own battles. Our parents
can no longer bail us out of our mediocre problems; we must
endure these problems on our own… using the tools in which
we have been given by our peers and Quinnipiac.
When you receive your degree from Quinnipiac, you are
provided with an opportunity. The opportunity to take
everything you have learned in the past four years and apply it
to your life. We are also given the opportunity to educate
ourselves and get involved in something. Whether it be joining
a club or organization in graduate school, or coaching a little
league team, get involved. The education process does not stop
today, in fact it accelerates and becoming involved only
enhances that process. We learn more from others than any
This is where your experience and your voice intertwine.
Our voice provides others with an education. In fact I have
educated you all today. Whether you agree with me or you
think I’m an idiot, you have learned something or reinforced
past knowledge. It is with this knowledge we can further
ourselves as humans by learning from others achievements and
more importantly their mistakes. We must remember that
with every mistake we make comes a learning experience, and
as my father has always told me, “it builds character.”
In conclusion I offer you, the class of 2004, two items of
advice. The first is to stand up for what you believe in. A
democracy best functions with a free flow of conflicting ideas.
Without that free flow our experiences are restricted, and our
ability to make decisions suffers. Voltaire once said, “I may
not agree with a word you say, but I’ll defend to the death your
right to say it.” We have a voice; it is a shame if that voice goes
unheard because we have limited our own and others
education. My second piece of advice is to get involved. We
can learn a lot from our 9 to 5 job, but should not limit those
experiences. Branch out and increase the number of your
experiences, and you’ll amplify your education 10 fold. Take
the opportunity given to you by Quinnipiac and continue to
educate yourself and every day strive to make your world a
better a place. Congratulations class of 2004 and Thank You
for being a part of my education.