2015 Commencement Keynote Speaker - Mr. Doug Wood | Tommy Bahama Clothing Co. CEO Doug Wood gave the commencement address to both graduation ceremonies. Mr. Wood is a 1984 CWU graduate.
First Ellensburg Commencement Student Speaker - Mr. Ethan Estalilla
First and foremost congratulations! You have had many accomplishments and achieved much to bring you to this monumental moment in your life journey. It is no small feat and I am flattered and humbled to get the
opportunity to speak with you this morning. While the last few years have come with ebbs and flows, celebration and heartache I am excited to tell you this is only the beginning. What will we do now?
This is the question posed to each bf us. How do we change our world? The answer is both profoundly simple and impossible difficult. It all comes down to ·one little word: choice. Throughout our lives and translating into our academic careers we have all had to make choices that ultimately have led us here and some have been more difficult than others. I was asked to speak to a group of freshman during the fall quarter this year as one of the first six week program initiatives. I gave them the same advice I give you now. Life, as in college, is all about choice. If you want to be successful, if you have a dream you think impossible, you must actively and consciously choose to make it happen. There is nothing more stubborn then human will. It carves through granite, erects the mightiest of monuments and woos a crying newborn to slumber. Dr. King chose to stand against an adverse system of oppression. Bill Gates chose to see the world through a new lens. The single mother with three kids and a full time job chose to be successful in college by making sure she had her
eyes set on the goal. Now I know what you’re thinking, I’m no Dr. King or Mr. Gates. But let me be the first to tell you plainly that you’re wrong. These individuals didn’t wake up one day and fall into the roles we
remember them for. They chose. That’s it. They chose and so can you.
Don’t give yourself excuses. Muhammad Ali, one of the greatest athletes of our time put it this way. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration.
It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. “Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
And so I give you this charge. Go forth and choose to be the man or woman you want to be. Choose to be the husband or father, wife or mother that deserves to be admired. My youth pastor growing up spoke often of this
subject. He used to tell us that at the end of our lives one thing that we can all agree on is this. Our life will come down to three parts written across our headstone.
There will be a birth date, a death date and a tiny piece in the middle that everyone always misses. This is your dash and your dash is your life. Every memory that you
will create, every friendship that you will forge the love you make and the things you do will all be summed up in this infinitely profound character. I challenge
you to go forth from this place and live a life that is worthy of remembrance. Make choices that deserve recognition, honor, respect and gratitude. We don’t
get the opportunity to take back the decisions we make. Don’t tell me you don’t have time, choose to make time. Don’t tell me it’s too hard, be harder. All you need to do is choose. It’s that simple.
Thank you for your time and attention. God bless you in your endeavors.
Second Ellensburg Commencement Student Speaker - Mr. Brendan Foor
Good Afternoon Class of 2015
How crazy is this ... in just a few minutes we will all be considered college graduates. When I first sat down to write this speech, I asked myself what it actually means to be a college graduate; and a poem written by Robert Frost came to mind. It perfectly depicts the decisions we have all made. But most importantly it depicts what it truly means to be a college graduate. The end of the poem is most telling:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
We are all familiar with this poem: The Road Not Taken. I strongly believe it emulates exactly where we find ourselves today: at the end of the road less traveled by.
To better paint this picture, let’s pretend if the entire world was made up of only 100 people: 26 of these 100 people would be children. And for those mathematics majors out there, that means there would be 74 adults.
77 people would have a place to shelter them from the wind and the rain,
but 23 would not... 83 of us would be able to read and write;
but 17 would not be as fortunate
21 would be overweight
15 would be undernourished...
And 1 would be dying of starvation.
Out of these 100 people, only 7 would have a college degree.
I would like to take a minute to thank the unsung heroes of this beautiful story, for without them, none of us would be sitting here today. Can we please put our hands together for our parents and anybody who has supported us through this great endeavor!
We are all living proof of the road less travelled by. Isn’t it crazy to think that we have all made thousands of conscious decisions during our paths throughout life and yet we all find ourselves at this common destination. Central Washington University has provided us with the road... but it was us who continually made the conscious decisions... to pick our feet up one at a time, day in and day out, pushing ourselves to the limit both mentally and physically, with all the blood sweat and tears leading us to this very day. And the beauty of today, is that it’s not the end ... today is the beginning. Today is the beginning of a new road. Many of us may refer to this road as the road to success. This road is not going to be paved... this road is not going to be smooth... and this road is not going to lay itself.
Before we leave today, I challenge all of you, to adopt a simple philosophy. The last time that you were walking along, and let’s say that you were in a mall or an airport, and you came up to a set of escalators, and some stairs ... did you take the stairs? Which do you think is the road less traveled? Why is it that we choose the escalator? Is it because we are naturally programmed to take the short cut ... to look for the easy way? On this day, we can all attest to the fact that success in anything that really matters most in our life, is not about taking the escalator ... it’s about taking the stairs .. .it’s about taking the road less travelled by. And we are a testament to this fact! How good does this feel right now!
Central Washington University has been a very long and tiring set of stairs, but now that we are at the top, it’s up to us to continue this climb. It is up to us to continue this climb to success.
So the next time that you ... are in front of a set of escalators, and some stairs, I challenge you to take the stairs ... because the fact that you are sitting here today, the fact that you are a college
graduate, means that you have developed the habit of taking the road less traveled by.
I wish you all the best of luck... Thank You.
*Due to technical difficulties commencement activities at Kent prior to the undergraduate ceremony are not available.