Dr. Melik Peter Khoury
These commencement remarks were given May 14, 2016 at Unity College by Unity College President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury.
Graduates... you arrived at Unity College as aspiring sustainability leaders and engaged with this institution as partners in your education.
You came from Texas, New York, Minnesota, Arizona, and New Jersey. From Massachusetts, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Florida. You came from Vermont, Virginia, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Rhode Island. Of course, you came from Maine.
In your time at Unity, you were a member of the Basketball Team, Big Worm Ultimate Frisbee, Soccer, Ice Hockey, or Woodsmen Team. You were a Student Ambassador, played Humans vs. Zombies with me, or were a member of Future Farmers of America, Student Government Association, and dozens of other student clubs and organizations.
You researched the hemlock woolly adelgid, tracked bears, and discovered a new species of tardigrade.
You completed internships and studied in Namibia, Australia, and Washington D.C.
You came to Unity with names like “Chelsea,” “Edward,” and “Chris.” You earned nicknames like “Bucky,” “Pongo,” and “Sunshine.” You join the ranks of legendary Unity nicknames including “Tommy Tomato,” “Coyote,” and “Fonzie.”
You leave Unity as a member of the National Guard, a Nicholas Holt Scholar, an honor student, a slam poet, or as Unity College’s all-time leading scorer.
You leave Unity to continue your education in a master’s program studying wildlife, marine biology, sustainable business, or environmental law.
You leave Unity College to begin a career with the National Park Service, with Disney’s Animal Kingdom, or the Maine Warden Service.
You leave to begin a career as a sustainability coordinator, or to begin your own sustainable enterprise.
Wherever you go from here... You began today as Unity College students. You will begin tomorrow as Unity College alumni, holding a valuable degree from America’s Environmental College.
But, like stock in any other sustainable enterprise, your degree is worth more than the recycled paper it is printed on. The growing Green Economy means increased value for every Unity College degree.
In this market your Unity College degree will naturally increase in value simply based on the economic and social trends, but that is not enough for us.
We invite you to continue to partner with us to make sure that your degree continues to increase in value as much as possible. Your degree is only as good as Unity College’s current perceived impact on the world.
Current staff, faculty, and board members must partner with corporate partners, with government officials, with environmental entrepreneurs like our honoree Ms. Mapp, AND WITH YOU ALUMS to work relentlessly to increase the value of your degree.
Your degree will continue to increase in value if: Unity College partners continue to demonstrate our relevance and increase the perceived positive impact of Unity College. Locally, regionally, nationally, and globally...
Your Unity College degree will continue to increase in value if: we continue to support our very successful environmental programs AND grow our educational offerings to include the new and the next in sustainability science.
Your degree will continue to increase in value if: together we find ways to reach more people with the most important mission for this, the Environmental Century.
I know this all sounds rather grand, but Commencement is a time for believing the best about our future together.
We invite you to partner with us to continue to make Unity College a better place, to continue to help us improve our educational experience, to help us create stronger alumni networks, and yes, to continue to increase the value of a Unity College degree.
As you leave today, your Unity College family anticipates a lifetime of great things from you ... as a sustainability professional, as an excellent human being, as a partner in sustainability, and as a global citizen.
Please do me one favor: expect as much from your alma mater as we expect from you.
And let us flourish together, in partnership, in friendship, and IN UNITY!