Dryden, New York – The seeds of greatness are in each of you, ready to manifest in your life’s journey. That was among the messages delivered to the class of 2017 during commencement ceremonies at Tompkins Cortland Community College Thursday. The College celebrated its 48th commencement in front of a packed crowd of more than 2,000 people in the College's gymnasium.
Student trustee Manpreet Kaur was the first speaker, telling the graduates that college is more than a grade or GPA, it’s about growth and investing in yourself. “Make the most of all your days to come, look back and learn from all you’ve done,” she told them. “The book is open, the chapter is done, the pen is yours, you’ve just begun.” She concluded her remarks by telling the graduates that regardless of their varied backgrounds, they all now share one thing in common. “Today you are graduates of this fine institution and tomorrow you will venture off to different paths,” she concluded. “And you will all take with you a little bit of TC3. A little bit of that Panther Pride.”
The commencement address was delivered by President Carl Haynes, who is retiring from the College after 48 years of service, including the last 23 as president. “I believe there is something special about Tompkins Cortland Community College and that it is passed on or inherited by our graduates over the years,” Haynes told the graduates. ”People often comment on the unique culture of our campus. I’ve had people say they can actually feel something special about this campus when they walk in the front doors and spend a few minutes walking around. Whether it’s our custodial staff, secretaries, faculty, or administrators we all feel we’re part of a family and as such we care for each other and this genuine concern for others permeates our culture and is both recognized and absorbed by our students and all who experience Tompkins Cortland Community College.”
Haynes calls it the ‘TC3 DNA’ which has a key element of transforming lives. “It could be argued that any college experience in some way changes us as we learn and grow. And that’s true, of course,” he said. “Yet the testimony of hundreds of students, having compared their experience on our campus with others they’ve been on, seems overwhelming evidence to me that there is indeed something special in the TC3 DNA. I believe that that unique element in our DNA is not just that we transform lives but that the transformation is so ingrained that it extends to the next generation and in numerous other ways as well. This DNA is passed on through you, our graduates, in ways that are extraordinarily compelling and immeasurable”
Haynes spoke of six different past graduates, spanning the 48 years he has been at the College Each used their experience at the College to propel them to greatness, something Haynes says the class of 2017 can copy. “Each of you has your own individual and unique story and many of you can probably relate to one or more of the stories I’ve shared,” he said. “The common element that connects all of these stories and tonight connects each of them to each of you is the TC3 DNA. It has transformed their lives as I’ve described, and I trust it has done the same for each of you.”
“The seeds of greatness are in each of you,” Haynes concluded, “and ready to manifest in your respective life’s journeys.”