September 24, 2010
Howard Thurman eloquently put into words what I already held as one of my truths. He said, "Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive--and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
I have reason to believe that President Lynn Pasquerella has lived with the meaning of Thurman’s words all of her life. She is someone who has both pursued her passions and given great service to this world through her dedication to women’s education and leadership. She has done so because her Mount Holyoke journey exposed her to a space most women don’t know exists, which allowed her in her own words, “to look at issues from the perspective of a community of women.”
President Pasquerella is the embodiment of Thurman’s words. To me, his words are not about ignoring what the world needs, but about pursuing your dreams and letting the choices you make on your life journey guide you to an amazing place where everything is possible because you are not merely living; but instead, you are alive.
Every time I see President Pasquerella, I am inspired. Her willingness to listen to and to learn from my fellow classmates and myself is genuine and has meant so much to us as students and members of this community. I am constantly stopped by my peers, who express excitement about President Pasquerella being here and talk about her many acts of kindness and support. She mentors everywhere she goes, and it is a pleasure for me to have such an incredible role model, as she has been to us all in this short period of time as president. Every time I see her, I am even more inspired to continue to serve our Mount Holyoke community, and through it, make this world a better place for us all.
I hope that as we learn how to navigate this world, that we remember to do what we do because we love it, because it matters to us, and because we can and we should. President Pasquerella, in my eyes, is a remarkable example of someone who is actively engaged with everything she does every day. My fellow classmates: Just as we look up to Mount Holyoke and its incredibly legacy, so too should we look to President Pasquerella, because she is alive in every sense of the word.
We thank you for your spirit President Pasquerella, and for your great contributions, and we welcome you back home. Yes, to our Mount Holyoke home, where you President Pasquerella, and you and I, my fellow classmates, became not just students, but Mount Holyoke women. As the President of Mount Holyoke College, and as a Mount Holyoke woman, you have our admiration and confidence, and I can’t wait to see where you take us next.
(Note: This printed text may vary from the speech delivered.)