SMU observed its historic 100th May Commencement on May 16 with George W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, delivering the principal address.
“You are graduating from a great university,” Bush told the graduates, their families and friends gathered in Moody Coliseum and watching simulcasts and over the Internet. “Your SMU degree will open the door to a wide variety of career options. Millions will never have had this opportunity. SMU has laid a foundation so you can reason, and continue to learn throughout your life. It has given you the tools to be productive citizens.”
- Read, listen to or watch the address by President George W. Bush.
- Watch media coverage of the address.
- Read more about Commencement from SMU.
This was the second time President Bush had spoken at SMU Commencement (the first was in 1999) but the first such address delivered since leaving the White House.
“To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say, ‘well done,’ ” Bush continued. “And as I like to tell the ‘C’ students: You, too, can be President.”
He told the graduates, “You will learn that who you are is more important than what you have,” and reminded them that “to worship who and how we want, or not to worship, is one of our founding principles.”
The graduates will be called upon at some point in their lives to serve something greater than themselves, and they should face the future by being optimistic and hopeful, he said.
“I believe that the Almighty’s grace and unconditional love will sustain you. I believe it will bring you joy amidst the trials of life. It will enable you to better see the beauty around you. It will provide a solid foundation amidst a rapidly changing, somewhat impersonal, technologically-driven world. It will show you how to love your neighbor, forgive more easily, and approach success with humility — and failure without fear,” he said.
SMU awarded more than 2,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees.
SMU conferred honorary degrees upon anthropologist Meave Leakey, U.S.-Japan Council President Irene Hirano Inouye and donor-activist Helen LaKelly Hunt during the Commencement ceremony. It hosted academic symposia in their honor on Friday, May 15.
Diploma presentation ceremonies were held by individual schools.