William M. Staats
President, Seton Hall University Alumni Board of Directors
Member, Board of Regents
May 19, 2014
Congratulations Class of 2014 on this momentous accomplishment.
I want to thank our President and Seton Hall University for asking me to speak to you today. This is indeed an honor. And it is extra special to see 1,200 happy faces walking across this stage.
I have two messages I want to share with you.
My first message might just get me a standing ovation: I am the last speaker at your graduation.
But seriously, my second message, while brief, is about a benefit you will receive today that will last a lifetime.
A few decades ago, I sat with my class in those seats on a sunny May day and was warmly welcomed by the Seton Hall alumni community. Class of 2014, it is my distinct pleasure – on behalf of those alumni and the authority vested in me as president of the Alumni Board of Directors, to be the first to officially welcome you as the newest Seton Hall University alumni. Congratulations!
One of the most valuable benefits of your outstanding Seton Hall education is not printed on your diploma. It's not printed on your résumé. Better yet, it is the strong bond that you now hold – and we all share – as alumni of this great university. You today join our Alumni Family.
And it's a pretty big family – there is a worldwide network of over 90,000 individuals who all share Seton Hall as our common link. There is an aspect of our Alumni Family that can benefit you as you pursue your goals, your dreams, and encounter life's challenges – we call it our Pirate Network.
Several thousand of our alumni are recognized as leaders holding prominent positions in business, government, education, sports, law, finance, healthcare, media, marketing, clergy, public service and a whole range of other fields – many as outstanding humanitarians. But you truly will never get to know them unless you reach out to them. I can tell you from personal experience that they will be more than happy to lend a fellow pirate a helping hand – because they know other alumni did the same for them.
But for you to get the most out of this Pirate Network, the benefit comes with an obligation. It starts by staying loyal to and connected with each other – and loyal to and engaged with alma mater.
Life gets very busy. This obligation requires that you value and nurture your lifetime relationship with Seton Hall. You have successfully managed the competing demands for your time to reach today’s accomplishment. Similarly, to realize the lifetime benefit of the Pirate Network is a choice. So many of us have found it so very helpful and rewarding – I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity.
The pathway to that connection is through Seton Hall. So as your life takes you from South Orange to San Francisco or even Singapore, Seton Hall will be there for you. Your initial commitment to Seton Hall may have lasted just four years, but Seton Hall's commitment to you will last a lifetime.
So on behalf of our Alumni Family, we wish you great success as you pursue rewarding professional careers – and that as servant leaders you will honor alma mater by creating rich and meaningful lives.
Congratulations my fellow alumni. May God bless you; may God bless our Alumni Family – and Go Pirates!