Student Daniel Looney’s Speech

By on April 15, 2004

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

instructional course.

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.


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