On May 14, Gallaudet University celebrated the achievements of over 400 undergraduate and graduate students as they received their degrees during the University’s 152nd Commencement ceremony in the Field House on the school’s Washington, D.C. campus. Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the keynote address.
He congratulated graduates for overcoming the challenges of the pandemic, and encouraged them to leverage their education and life experiences at Gallaudet to make their own imprint on the world and “build a life of meaning and fulfillment.”
“Gallaudet has prepared you for a lifetime of discovery,” said Cook. “There is so much you’ve learned while you were here—more perhaps than you realize….And in the end, what you earned here is more than a diploma. It is more than a formal education. It is experience, insight and wisdom.
“I hope you’ve used this time to think deeply and openly about the world around you. To determine what you believe and why you believe it. What matters now is that you let those ideas guide you. That you let your values lead you. This is how you build a life of meaning and fulfillment.”
Added Cook: “I know, in my heart, that staying true to who you are and what you believe is one of the most important choices you can make. It will help you form better relationships. It will help you find more satisfaction in your work. And with a little luck and a lot of effort, it will help you build a more meaningful life.”
In closing, Cook challenged the graduates to put a twist on the natural question in front of them: “So when you imagine your future, and the winding path that is laid out before you, remember that the question you should ask is not ‘What will happen?’ But who will I be when it does?”
Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of Deaf, hard of hearing and Deafblind individuals through American Sign Language and English. The university enrolls over 1,600 students in more than 40 undergraduate majors and many master’s and doctoral programs.