Thank you so much distinguished faculty, parents, alumni and most importantly scholars! It is a huge honor to congratulate you on earning an advanced degree from this great university. You did it! You earned it! Give yourselves a big hand. A couple of months ago when they called to invite me to speak at this celebration, I went home and told my wife. I said, “Did you ever in your wildest dreams think that this would happen? And she said, “Well, you’re not in my wildest dreams.”
Ladies and gentlemen, there are scholars here from 99 different programs and 20 different countries. And this celebration is being simulcast live around the world. Loved ones in China, India, Ghana, and Brazil and other countries are up in the night watching this broadcast so they can see you walk across this stage in just a moment. And let’s also give a shout out to all the people who supported you along the way to bring you to this proud moment: your advisors, and mentors and colleagues, student loan officers, and baristas at Starbucks, and bartenders at The Graduate, and those sorely under appreciated pizza delivery drivers. Let’s give them all a hand. It takes a village to raise a scholar!
I realize there may be a few of you out there who’ve never heard of me, never read my books or seen me on YouTube – and please don’t all go there at once you’ll crash the site — but I graduated from this university in 1978. I’m sure the stone tablets with my academic record must still be around here somewhere. And I went on to become a futurist and innovation expert advising organizations all over the world. And perhaps because of this work, they’ve asked me to share a few thoughts with you about how to make the most of your future and your innovation journey ahead. So, I want to talk with you about three things; three ingredients for success let’s call them. And they all begin with the letter C: Change; Creativity and Courage. Let’s start with change. In 1440, a man named Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press. His invention made it possible for the first time in history to spread ideas and knowledge over vast distances, and it disrupted the existing order of serfs and landowners and kings and queens and everything began to change. Gutenberg’s invention set off a series of revolutions: The Scientific Revolution, the Industrial Revolution, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, and the birth of our democracy here in America. And you and I are living in a similar period of change, but it’s not just revolutionary, it’s exponential. And at a milestone moment in your life such as this, it’s as important to look back, as it is to look ahead in order to gain wisdom and perspective.