Citing a University of Nevada, Reno education as their "greatest possible asset," University President Marc Johnson encouraged the more than 1,400 bachelor's and advanced degree recipients during Saturday's Winter Commencement ceremony to continue a lifelong pursuit of learning, knowledge and discovery.
"Your ambition must be to develop the ideas and perceptions that you've started here, during your time at our University, and apply them to whatever you choose to do in your life," Johnson told those assembled at Lawlor Events Center. "This will become your greatest possible asset, an asset that will guide your character, your judgment, your resourcefulness, and ultimately, your success."
Johnson added, "You have been launched on a higher trajectory of life-long learning and experience as a result of earning your degree. Your University career has given you a certain thoughtful perspective - one fueled by ideas, the intellectual tumult that can come from inner discovery and the careful imagining of what is possible. This is a good start. You have been prepared to listen more thoughtfully to those with even more experience, and to contribute to conversations with greater discernment."
A total of 1,075 bachelor's degrees and 386 advanced degrees or certificates (master's and doctoral degrees and education specialist certificates) were awarded during Saturday's ceremony, which was delayed by about an hour due to the snowstorm that hit Reno late Friday and into Saturday morning.
Still, the late start did nothing to dampen the mood of the ceremony on Saturday morning.
Johnson noted that Saturday's ceremony was yet another emblem of the strong sense of community that students often experience while at the University. He quoted the late Yale University President Bart Giamatti, who coined the term "jointness" to describe how universities are able to unify diverse groups to work in affiliation and collaboration for the greater good.
Johnson said a University education provides students with the opportunity to benefit from an institution steeped in foundational knowledge. He said this foundational knowledge provides many of the keys necessary for success in life.
"It is the perspective from whence we came that informs who we are in the present," Johnson said. "Whether it is in the thought of Locke or Rousseau, the words of Jefferson or Lincoln, the universal truths of humanity contained in the passages of 'To Kill A Mockingbird' or the rudiments of democracy that we find in Plato's 'Republic,' the prism through which we view and define a successful, modern world is through this foundational knowledge of the greats."