Laura Garcia CannonWell, I did it. I presented the commencement speech at Saint Mary’s College to the graduating class of 2008 this past weekend. It was one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had. I knew it at the time. That’s what made it even more special. Dressed in my official cap and gown, walking into the stadium with Pomp and Circumstance playing, I felt an overwhelming amount of pride and responsibility. I tried to take in the feeling of the day. I looked into the crowd to capture the faces of parents beaming – looking for their children in a sea of black graduation caps. I walked by hundreds of graduates surrounded by their classmates and friends, I could see the gleam in their eyes filled with the anticipation of the day in front of them. It was the culmination of four years of very hard work. It was their college graduation, and I was fortunate to be a big part of it.

When I reached the stage I sighed… looked around and smiled. This was it, this was real, it was an honor. I knew it was an image I’d want to keep forever. So, I made a point to create a mental snapshot in my mind. I looked to my left to see Brent and my father sitting in the VIP section. To know they were there supporting me meant so much. In front of me, I had the best view of all the students. Smiling, happy, this day was for them. I needed to make it special. To my left and right I was seated by the Saint Mary’s College President, Provost, Past President and various Deans, Trustees, fellow Regents and Professors. I held my speech in my hands, I was ready. I wrote the speech for the students and I hoped it would make a difference in their lives, create a little memory for them on this special day. I wanted to offer a little advice, and offer a lot of support. Little did I know how much I would take out of this day. It was a great moment for this former graduate. One I will never forget.

I was touched by the students who stopped by on the way to get their diploma to shake my hand, to say thank you. To be approached by former professors to say it was the best they’d heard in 20 years I was taken aback… it was a great moment. A great day to give back to the school that gave so much to me. Thank you Saint Mary’s and the class of 2008 for the honor. Truly an honor.

Laura Garcia Cannon
NBC11 Anchor

Click here to read Laura’s commencement address


One Response to “Phew”

  1. Janie Itami-Geiler Says:

    Dear Laura,
    I posted a thank you on your “commencement challenge” blog and I hope you could read it because as a parent of a graduate who was there listening to your speech, I was very grateful for what you said. You didn’t say the usual trite, over-used sentences you always hear at commencement speeches(Like the one I heard when I graduated in 1978!), but you gave a speech that spoke from the heart with your personal experiences.
    I’m ordering the DVD of the ceremony and am looking forward to listening to your speech again! Thank you. Janie Itami-Geiler (mother of graduate of SMC class of 2008)

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