Congratulations, Graduates!

9 12 2011

Commencement ceremonies for Michigan State University will be held on December 9 and 10 at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center.  This fall 1,730 undergraduate and 753 graduate students will receive their degrees.  In honor of commencement the University Archives wanted to give the graduates some advice from a past President of the University.

John Hannah

Michigan State President John Hannah

John Hannah was president of MSU from 1941 until his retirement in 1969.  On May 5, 1949 Hannah offered the following advice to graduating seniors:

“Finally, because this will be my last opportunity to talk with you seniors as a group, I want to talk a little about Michigan State College and your personal relationships with it.  Up until the moment you receive your diplomas, you have been free to sever your connections with Michigan State at any time.

“But once you accept your diplomas . . . your status changes and you become a part of Michigan State College forever.  You cannot disown the College, and the College cannot disown you.

“Never forget that the reputation of this College depends to a large extent on the records and reputations of its alumni.  For that reason, Michigan State will always be interested in you and what you do.  And if at any time Michigan State College can be of service to you in the years ahead, do not hesitate to ask for that help.  It will be given to you, freely and willingly.

“There is another side to this relationship: to some degree, you will always be interested in the good name and welfare of this College.  Its stamp of approval is upon you forever, and if its prestige as an educational institution grows, so will the worth of your affiliation with it.  But if it should fall on evil days, the value of your association with it will decline.

“So I must remind you that as you are to feel free to call on the College for help, so the College is free to call upon you for help in the time of trouble.

“Always remember that Michigan State College stands as a great memorial to a great idea fostered by a great system of democratic government.  As a living mechanism for service to the people of Michigan, this nation and the world, it has great, exciting tasks to perform.  As a part of that living mechanism–forever, you will have reason to become increasingly proud of your Alma Mater and mine.  The difficulties of this day will be overcome, and she will go on with your help to greater and more glorious things.”

Michigan State Commencement, 1940s

Michigan State Commencement, 1940s

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