University Park, IL,
14:10 PM

Dear Governors State Graduates

Congratulations to Governors State University & to the many other high school and college graduating Classes of 2020!

Life is about adapting to and overcoming change. Please see my remarks to GSU's graduating class and remember to "be the change you wish to see in the world."


Change is inevitable. Your successes and your failures will be determined by how you adapt to change.

There is no doubt that over the past three months our state, nation and world have changed.

Giving a friend a hug or introducing yourself with a handshake. Going for a routine visit to your grandparents’ house or sitting down with friends to have dinner. Learning next to a classmate in a classroom or walking across the stage for graduation. All are activities or events that most have accustomed themselves to in a normal way of life.

All have changed.

Isn’t it unbelievable how one event or one moment can change the way we behave? Change the way we interact with one another? Or even change the traditions and customs to which we normally conduct ourselves?

Will you embrace the change you are confronted with, or will you let the change control you?

Please, embrace it. Take it head on. Become a better person, a better professional, a better citizen because of it.

All of you had to embrace change and overcome challenges to get to this milestone in your life. Graduating from Governors State University is no small feat.

Cramming until midnight for the test the next day. Typing and revising a thesis until the last minute, praying that the printer does not break. Holding down a job while balancing schoolwork so you can pay for your education. Managing and caring for toddlers or an aging parent at home all while working and balancing coursework.

There is no doubt, you are prepared.

As you embark in your personal and professional life, always remember that you are here today, and how you got here. You have experienced change. Change for the better and some for the worst, but you have endured and overcome. And the lessons you have learned to overcome the adversity of change will allow you to “be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Congratulations Class of 2020! I look forward to seeing the great change you bring to our world.