Last Lecture Remarks

Bristol Last Lecture Remarks by Don Kilguss

I am truly honored to be able to address you today. Thank you to the Student Senate-- this means so much because it is an award from you, the students! As all of you know, classes run for 75 minutes-- so please get comfortable. However, I also thought of the brevity of Lincoln’s masterpiece, the Gettysburg Address, which was only 269 words. My remarks will be somewhere in between!

Today, I would like to speak to you about treasure chests and treasure hunters. But it’s not what you think. We all have a treasure chest and we all are treasure hunters. Let me explain …

There is a novel that I have used in my classes about a Jewish immigrant woman who is very embarrassed by her poverty-stricken childhood in the turn-of-the-century New York City. After many years of struggling, she puts herself through high school and finally is able to go to college. But even in college, she doesn’t feel like she fits in until one day she has an epiphany-- all her struggles and life experiences had made her the person she was and had prepared her for the challenges ahead. They were her “treasure chests of insight.”

Don Kilguss Last Lecture IP ImageWe all have our own treasure chest-- it is composed of everything that you’ve done in your life-- the good/bad, successes/failures, triumphs/tragedies-- and it has gotten you to where you are today. Never be ashamed of what you’ve been through or what you’ve done because all of those experiences have made you the unique, special person that you are today. Don’t try to bury your treasure chest in the sand and forget about it but keep it close and remove trinkets/artifacts to help you make decisions now and in the future. Today, Bristol joins the other artifacts in your treasure chest-- rely on it as a source of inspiration for the rest of your life.

The great writers of western civilization, such as Homer, Virgil and Dante, described life as a journey and your educational journey brought you to Bristol. Indeed, life is a journey of encounters with individuals who help to define who we are and who we will become in the future. I know that you all have your own list of faculty and other members of the college community who have helped to enrich your educational journey and have a special place in your treasure chest. They have helped you to successfully lay the foundation for your success and, now, it’s up to you to take that foundation and make your own destiny as “lifetime learners” or, to keep with my theme today, treasure hunters.

Throughout your life, continue to be a treasure hunter-- be your own version of Indiana Jones or Lara Croft and add artifacts of knowledge and experience to your treasure chest. In other words, never stop learning, never stop questioning, never stop exploring new worlds and new ideas!

Whatever your challenges or dreams might be, always remember that the education which you have received here at Bristol Community College will shelter you well from many of the tempests that life will throw at you and it will also be the wind at your back as you pursue new artifacts to add to your treasure chest of insight.

In closing-- thank you, congratulations again, and enjoy the rest of the day.