Student Spotlight

‘Don’t lose your thirst for knowledge’ – Darin Hand, Whidbey Island commencement speaker

May 09, 2016

In introducing the Brandman University Whidbey Island NAS commencement speaker, Darin Hand, campus Director Barbara Bockman said, “My friendship with Darin goes back several years.  I first met him in San Diego where I helped him with his education journey as he worked on his bachelor’s degree.

“Our paths crossed again here at Whidbey Island early in 2002 when he came into our office and wanted to start graduate school.   He finished his master’s in human resources in March of 2006 and in 2010 he became an adjunct professor at the campus.

“Imagine my delight ,when two years ago he came to me and said he wanted to pursue a doctorate.  Which brings us here today.  It is my pleasure to introduce Dr. Darin Hand; great tipper, fancy dresser and loves dogs.

Speech transcript:

Oh look at this crowd. No really look at this crowd. Look around, look behind you.

What a testimony to the city of Oak Harbor and Whidbey Island and to this community and to the leadership of this community and the impact that education has on our island. It is just so wonderful to see. We also have three students here who have flown cross-country, have traveled  up from Oregon. Amazing. So again this speaks to the Brandman family. And how important it was to them to be here today with all of us to celebrate.

Rodney he said that his speech was three minutes, 48 seconds. Patrick made me promise not to go over 45 minutes.

I don’t think I’ll be less than four but I promise not over 44 minutes, 30 seconds.

I want to take a moment to publicly recognize Ms. Cheryl Pollock.  Cheryl, as you’ve heard has been with the Navy College Office. But what you may know is that she’s been with that office for over 30 years. And the Navy has decided to move toward a different path regarding higher education. So we’ll lose Cheryl this September. I’ve known Cheryl since first coming back to Whidbey Island as the new commander chief for VAQ137. Cheryl was one of the first people to come to my office, personally, to introduce herself and tell me what services she could offer for our sailors and their families. We became good friends because as we both had a passion for education. Cheryl, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. As a sailor, as a leader, as a student and as an academic, I can think of no one dedicated to this base and to sailors and their families in pursuit of their education. This is one of my coins. [Applause]. I told Cheryl that was one of my last coins and that’s because my last coin is for you, Barbara. You saw me start and now, I’m not going to say finish because I think there’s still more ahead but … [Applause].

As a story to write my remarks, I was thinking back to two years ago when I was writing remarks for my retirement ceremony.

One speech was a testimony to and ending. My hope is that this speech is a testimony to a beginning. One speech reflected upon the past. My hope is that my words today provide you a vision for the future. Each of you have sacrificed a very big deal to be here today. Have no doubt. Each family member, each supervisor, each peer, each colleague and yes, believe it or not, your faculty, you staff have also sacrificed and shared your struggles. Here’s what I want you to take today. Your sacrifices and the sacrifices of those along with you have culminated in a tremendous achievement. And I say congratulations.

However. With tremendous achievement comes tremendous responsibility. Do not take your degree lightly. Don’t see it as a completion of a milestone or goal but rather ask yourself, “Now what?” Your teachers and faculty administrative staff have worked very hard to develop you into critical thinkers. This means you now have a responsibility to ask difficult questions. And to question everything. We are at a time were critical questions need to be asked. Your education begged that you be the one to ask. This is your responsibility. Please don’t lose your thirst for knowledge. Make learning a lifelong event. For those earning an undergraduate degree.

I encourage you to move on to a graduate degree in your field. For those of achieving your master’s, I encourage you to take an even greater height by pursuing a doctoral degree. And I for one can think of no better program than the one offered right here Brandman University.

Let me stop there for a moment. I have my cohort and my cohort mentor in the audience. And I want to recognize Dr. Julie Hadden, Dr. Karen Bolton, doctoral candidate Lynn Huffy, Debra Marzocca, Danielle Prist. This robe is a testament to the hard work of our cohort family. And I cannot thank you enough for the last three years.

I want to leave you with a personal story. I told you I would get back to Hank. My very first master’s class was with Hank Lounsbery. Some of you may know him.

And I remember very vividly the day I did my very first paper and turned it in. No we didn’t have TurnItIn, I actually had a hand in the paper and I got it back. And I looked at it and it was either a A- or, dare I say maybe a B.

And Hank said this is not the grade of paper that I would expect in a master’s level student. My response was simple enough. It was one of the things I would do better work. So I diligently went back and worked on my paper. And on my second attempt of turning it in, Hank relayed to me, that he meant the actual grade of the paper.

He wanted to know if I had I printed it on recycled paper? Which, being conscious of our environment, I had.

So I went down and bought the highest quality of paper that I could. This actually happened. But, there’s a moral here.

What grade of paper will your degree be on? Will it be on a grade of paper destined to fill a frame and sit on a wall. Perhaps garner a promotion or a new job? Or will it be a grade of paper that regardless of the promotion, job or major, but it changes of the world. Class of 2016 you have the knowledge, the skills, the abilities and the characteristics to change the world. Be bold.

Buy the good grade of paper. [Applause]

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