Scott Mason '80

Scott Mason '80
Hobart Launch Address
May 17, 2013

First of all, I would like to thank the Hobart Alumni Association for inviting me here today. It is truly an honor.

And thank you, JB, for an introduction that was far too nice.

I have to tell you this is a little unsettling—not because I am a shy and introverted type—but trying not to embarrass a son who is one of your classmates does raise the performance bar.

This evening begins the culmination of your education at the Colleges, and by Sunday afternoon, you and I will be the same—graduates of Hobart College.

During the last few weeks as you have grinded out your last papers, exams, projects, and labs, advice has probably started to come in from near (your parents about that, um resume) and far, via the internet and those six second graduation speeches on twitter’s vine app.

And while this is a weekend to enjoy, you will certainly hear your share of speeches. (None of which, by the way, will be six seconds.)

Some will be inspiring.
Some will have deep-rooted messages.
Some you will like.
Some you will not.
And frankly some may put you to sleep.

This one may have each of those elements.

This weekend you will also be told what a special class you are:
The brightest.
The most talented to walk the campus.
The best looking.
And the most prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

And you are—at least this year.

This weekend you will also create memories that will last a lifetime.

But I’m here to remind you it is not just about these last few days at the Colleges and how much fun it is to officially wind down—it is about the last four years.

Those are the memories and experiences that are about to launch you into life beyond the Colleges. In fact, leaving the sunny shores of Seneca Lake on Sunday or Monday does not mean you just leave it all behind and move on. You can’t, and I’m sure you won’t.

That’s because Hobart is now part of you and has made its way into your DNA. (Pre-med and science majors, please do not debate me on this one.)

And you need to make sure that you remain part of Hobart’s DNA, too.

Think about it:

This is a place where you have spent almost 20% of your life. Almost all of your adult life has been at Hobart and William Smith, and while it has shaped you, you have helped shape it, too.

(And I’m not just talking about the art project you made with red solo cups or the math problem of how many are used in one semester.)

As alums you will have the opportunity to help shape the future of the Colleges.

So this is my charge to you:

Stay engaged – that’s the important thing. And engagement takes on many forms.

To do that, you do not need to write big checks, though those are nice.

(But small ones are good, too.)

The important thing is that when the Colleges reach out to you each year, you respond. This act is about more than just money—it’s a gesture of goodwill that will resonate far beyond Seneca Lake.

This is what I mean by staying engaged. Continue to nurture your college so it can do for other students what it’s done for you. Think about that hard. There’s another kid out there hoping for a chance, and you can help make that happen.

Another obvious form of engagement is to return to campus, interact with students, and see for yourself how things are changing and progressing.

Other opportunities are through local alumni events and councils. These events are a great way to meet fellow alums, particularly if you have relocated to a new city.

And lastly, and obviously, engage your fellow graduates as you move on in life.

I actually did that—literally by marrying a William Smith alumna.

And finally, I want to leave you with two points:

And the first one is from me:

Make life urgent, important and significant. But that does not mean rush. It means slow down. Enjoy it.

So slow down and really enjoy this moment—and this entire weekend.

It only happens once.

The second one is from the commencement speech given by Professor Jim Crenner at Hobart’s commencement in 1981. Thirty-two years later, it is something that still resonates.

Professor Crenner said:

“Don’t forget kubinski. The only thing that counts is having someone who calls you kubinski.

Kubinski was a real word and was a version of a Serbo-Croatian word for friend.

In other words, don’t forget friend. The only thing that counts is having somebody who calls you friend.”

And I relay this to you today so that you know that in Hobart you will always have a kubinski.

Congratulations, soon-to-be graduates.

Thank you.