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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

2011 Senior Class Speaker

Jordan Kristopher Lanfair

June 04, 2011

I've been told by a couple of you to keep it short, so....

I have so many of you to thank for the last four years, and all I can say is, that for the rest of my life, it'll be my goal to make it up to you.

But the one person that I have to (thank) is my mom, who is sitting out there somewhere. Every single thing that I've done, everything that I've got, I've got because of you. Every sacrifice that I will make, you've already made, over and over. And for that, I thank you.

They say that the best speeches have already been written, and that when we write, all we're doing is recycling timeless words from those before us. With that in mind, "My name is Jordan Lanfair, and I was graduated from this fine university in the year 2000 and 11."

The past four years have been full of love and loss; of hope and pain; and in the most sincere moments, with the most authentic people, we have helped shape our futures, accept our pasts and truly loved our present.

When we first arrived and through countless encounters since, Roger made us a promise -- a very simple one, but it was a promise nonetheless. That after today, after we cross this stage, when someone asks us, where did we go to college, that we wouldn't look down at our feet and say, "Some small, liberal arts university you've never heard of." That we would look them in the face and say, "We went to Knox College!"

There's one problem with that. The people make the place, and we are who our experiences have made us. You see, there are just some things that no matter how long you explain, how hard you try, only a Knox person would understand.

That the real fun of life starts at 5:30 in the morning, because Flunk Day is always tomorrow.

That just because the beard is the same, Dean Breitborde is not Dumbledore, but he comes pretty close.

See, people outside of Knox will never get just how long we waited on Wallace Lounge to be more than an empty space, and how hard -- actually how easy -- a decision it was to call it Taylor Lounge, or just how time-consuming an Honors project can be.

How in one day you can shake every single person at this school's hand and not see them again until your senior seminar course.

Knox is a creature unto itself. It's embraced us with the warmth not just of a loving parent, but with the trust that we'd make the best of ourselves and our opportunities. And that when we fail -- because no matter how great we all are, we will -- that we'll pick our heads up, wipe away the tears, and keep going.

That attitude has defined us. We've dared to resist the phrase, "You can't." Wherever we've met limitations, we've faced it like champions -- with a boundless spirit and a hunger for the challenge to come. If I could tell you anything, I say never lose that. This small college has made us, quite simply, leaders in the search for truth and the protectors of it.

We've become stronger through those that we've lost, those who've transferred, those who've dropped out and simply those who don't call Knox their home anymore. It's for them that we sit here, too. Every friend, whether it was freshman year or today, that will leave us, we sit here for them.

The hardest thing is telling someone that you went to Knox College, not because we don't love this place, not because we haven't had amazing opportunities and experiences, but
because of them.

Because we sit next to our best friends. Because we live next to the people that many of us will know for the rest of our lives. Because there is no greater sacrifice than leaving today. When we were admitted, we came. When opportunity knocked, we took it. And now that we have to leave, we leave brighter, bolder, and more beautiful than we came.

I urge you, remember today. Remember your friends and your family, your professors and your staff. But know that we have to go. Because it's not about what the world has in store for us, it's about what we have in store for the world.

Simply put: Congratulations, Class of 2011. As Dora the Explorer would say, "We did it!"

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Printed on Saturday, October 20, 2018