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Love That Moves: 2006 Student Commencement Speech by Teresa Jasmine Tuan

May 5, 2005 Today marks the culmination of our Utah education. I think we can all agree that today’s been a long time coming. Contrary to what some might say, a University degree is more than just a piece of paper. It is a physical representation of the process we”ve undergone for the past four, or more, years. A process of listening, of discussing, of succeeding, of failing, and especially of learning.

Let me tell you, this graduating senior has had her fair share of learning. I’ve learned about some truly remarkable things from some truly remarkable people. But the most important lesson I’ve learned at the University of Utah is to recognize the value of passion. For at the U, people are constantly pursuing their passions. It isn’t simply that they love what they do. Passion is more than love. Passion is love that moves. The Swiss philosopher, Henri Frederic Amiel, once said that, “Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.”

At the University of Utah, I’ve recognized passion in my professors.

Passion for teaching makes professors encourage students to question even when they themselves have no answers. Passion for knowledge motivates professors who love their fields, to actively contribute and push their fields further through research. Passion for discovery drives our University to continue pursuing important questions even when they are greeted with only skepticism and doubt. Passion moves.

At the University of Utah, I’ve recognized passion in my fellow students.

Passion, for any one of the University’s seventy-five majors, drives students to study late nights and during long weekends. At some point, each one of us recognized a passion, a love that moved us to work hard to get where to we are today. But it has not been restricted to the classroom. Utah students are unmatched in sheer multitasking power, for we know that a true college education is not confined to textbooks and term papers. Every hour spent studying was complemented with hours working in ASUU, writing for the Chrony, volunteering through the Bennion Center, or cheering on our sports teams in the MUSS. Passion for sport brought Utah athletics back into the national spotlight, be it during the Emerald Bowl or the Elite Eight. Passion to help, when help was desperately needed, inspired three University of Utah students to start a relief effort for Hurricane Katrina victims. Three outstanding students led a team of over one thousand student volunteers, to raise over $11,000 for the American Red Cross. I still remember the pride I felt that day. Pride in being a Utah student. Passion moves.

And most extraordinarily, at the University of Utah, I recognized passion within myself.

I recognized that I have the passion for being a student. This not only includes a love for learning and for education, but it also includes announcing I have a lot to learn. In this day and age, I truly believe that acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers, and that we’ll always remain students on some level, does a lot to promote and improve discourse. Intelligent, respectful discourse is our best chance at successfully combating the world’s many major problems.

Today, May 5th 2006, seven thousand, three hundred, and thirty-two students will be declared graduates of the University of Utah. I have but one wish for this graduating class. I have but one hope for us. Let us recognize and realize where our passions lie. Let us be the ones bold enough, brave enough, and yes, crazy enough, to follow and fight for our passions. Let us be the most passionate class ever to come out of this University. For passion, passion moves.

Of course, none of us would be here today without the passion of our supporters. Thus, I’d like to take a few moments to thank those that helped me along the way.

To my professors, who worked just as hard helping me understand matters of life as they did matters of academics, I thank you.

To my advisors, who always offered an open door and open mind, I thank you.

To my family and friends, whose passion for my success and more importantly, my happiness, always remained constant, I thank you.

To my beloved university, I thank “U”, for giving me a wonderful education, and for showing me what passion can do.

And finally, to the Class of 2006, my friends and occasional competitors, I’ve loved the time we’ve spent together, and I thank you for always pushing me to work and play harder.

Today marks the culmination of our Utah education. And today I’d like to leave you all with a saying in Mandarin Chinese. My parents taught me to say this whenever someone was about to go on a journey.

Yi Lu Shuan Fong. As you embark on your path, may the wind be on your side.

University of Utah Graduating Class of 2006, I wish you all the best! Thank you.