President Dekle’s Graduation Speech and Charge to the Graduating Seniors

President Dekle’s Graduation Speech and Charge to the Graduating Seniors

It is with great pride that I welcome all of you to our campus, and our 11th annual Commencement Ceremony. 

We are here today to celebrate our graduates and to thank family, friends, professors, mentors, and everyone else connected to our learning community who helped our students pursue their education. 

Stallions! Listen carefully. My charge to you as our graduating seniors, is to remember the question posed by naturalist Sir David Attenborough, “The whole of life is coming to terms with yourself and the natural world. Why are you here? How do you fit in? What’s it all about?” 

Stallions, Why are you here? 

Stallions, you are superheroes, and you will each have a different answer to Attenborough’s question. Your strength is in your diversity. Superheroes have superpowers. What are yours? You might wish for the superpowers of time travel, invisibility, or x-ray vision, but AUN has given you the superpowers of service leadership, teamwork, critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and civic engagement. This is all you need to succeed in life, and you will be more powerful than others by continuing to develop these capacities. If you do, not only will you change the world, but you will enable a world of change. 

Back to Sir David Attenborough’s good question – why are you here – I will ask that you adopt the mindset of a conductor of an orchestra. The famous musician Benjamin Zander has identified the core competency of the conductor. Zander noted that the conductor is silent; the conductor does not make a sound. And yet the orchestra is relying on the conductor to set the rhythm and pace, and bring out the story in the music. 

So what superpower does the conductor have? The conductor’s superpower is the ability to make other people powerful, to allow for a harmony of music through awakening the possibility and power in others. You, Stallions, are ready to unleash your own superpower – the ability to create conditions in which others can shine. Isn’t this what a true leader does? Isn’t this what an entrepreneur does? Isn’t this your calling too? 

Stallions, You are ready.


Stallions, Be willing to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves.


Stallions, Avengers Assemble.


Stallions, May the Force be with you.


Stallions, May the odds be ever in your favor.


Stallions, Live long and prosper.


Stallions, Wakanda forever.


Stallions, Congratulations, as you charge into the future!