Kupper, whose son Tyler Kupper was a member of the graduating class, said members of this generation face a set of challenges far different from those of their parents and grandparents and encouraged graduates to navigate the coming years successfully by embracing change, by making a difference in the world and by following their passion.
“Connect yourself, if you can, with a field of purpose or endeavor, which you truly have a passion for,” Kupper said. “Only then can a job touch your soul; only then can you fire yourself up in ways that will almost always guarantee your success.”
Through four decades in the publishing industry, Kupper said he has watched various corporate teams work with passions to get the best photographs for Sports Illustrated, to negotiate the best newsstand deals for Time, to pursue an important story for BusinessWeek.
Two mega-trends await new graduates as “clearly the biggest drivers of change that you will see in all of your lives,” Kupper said, and those are globalization and information technology.
“Globalization represents a force that brings nations and worlds closer together,” Kupper said. “It interconnects nations and it increases liquidity of capital, allowing investors in developed nations to invest in developing nations, and vice versa.”
As to information technology, Kupper said the graduating class is “one of the first graduating classes of digital natives,” adding, “You have played with technology all your lives but you may not have realized how profoundly it has affected everything we do.”
Information technology, which gathers, processes and distributes information “at dazzling speeds,” has “created a revolution of our sensory capabilities,” he said. “Markets emerge out of nowhere and can disappear just as fast.”
Kupper said this is a “fabulous and exciting time for you to be graduating,” telling the graduates to “do the math” as he said there are 77 million members of the Baby Boom generation and 44 million members of Generation X. The large disparity in numbers, with one generation nearing retirement and the other coming on line, will lead to a “long-term talent war” among corporations that will last two decades.
“Going forward, your career opportunities are absolutely, positively immense,” Kupper said. “So display agility, follow your passions and make a difference.”
Kupper opened by telling the graduates that one of his favorite characters is YoUDee, the University's Hall of Fame mascot. YoUDee, he said, graced the family's year-end holiday card.
Anyone who sees YoUDee cannot help but break into a big smile he said, adding that is the same “big smile of enjoyment” on the faces of the graduates' friends and family on hand for the ceremony.
“You, the graduating Class of 2007, simply have to smile with pride,” he said. “Be proud. Be very proud. You succeeded in a significant accomplishment, achieved a big goal. You earned something very special today.”
Leading the alumni delegates were Kathryn (Kate) LaPrad of Seaford and Joseph D'Agostino of Northport, N.Y., recipients of the Alumni Association's 2007 Emalea Pusey Warner and Alexander J. Taylor Sr. awards, which recognize the outstanding senior woman and man.
Commencement ceremonies began with the Presentation of the Colors by members of the University of Delaware Air Force and Army ROTC, followed a moment of silence for loved ones not present and the singing of the national anthem by Kelly Curtain, a member of the Class of 2007.
Conferred were 175 doctoral degrees, 770 master's, 90 associate's and 3,600 bachelor's degrees earned during the past academic year.
Robert A. Fischer Jr., vice chairman of the UD Board of Trustees, honored two students for achieving the highest grade point average--4.0--in full-time study at UD. They were Amanda Bayley of Wilmington and Tapan Patel of Newark.
Senior members of the University's a cappella singing groups and the University Chorale, which won the grand prix at the 10th International Choir Festival in Tallinn, Estonia, last month, sang the alma mater.
The Class of 2007, whose members range in age from 18-74 years, includes 14 graduates celebrating birthdays at Commencement and 10 sets of twins--Jamie and Nicole Baron, Nicole and Rachel Douglas, Robert and Ryan Kershis, Tyler and Liz Mayforth, Aaron and Emily Paolini, Richard and Ryan Phifer, Shannon and Stefani Sargent, Kerry and Kimberly Schussler, Bethany and Sara Sterling and Eric and Steven Taylor.
The oldest graduate, 74-year-old Joe Ann Knauss of Wilmington, who earned a bachelor's degree in history, stood to warm applause from her classmates.
During the presentation of degrees, Howard Cosgrove, chairman of the Board of the Trustees, said that, during Roselle's tenure, 74,494 students have received diplomas bearing his signature. "You join today an elite and special group of alumni who share the distinction of graduating under his leadership. Please join me in thanking President Roselle for his commitment to you and those who have gone before you."Sitting in the sun on the grassy carpet of Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium, David Long of Spartansburg, Pa., said, “The whole UD experience has been fun, but it's really hot today.”
Nick Cedrone, a finance major from Chatham, N.J., echoed the sentiments of several graduates, saying, “I just really want to thank my mom and dad. I would never have made it without them.”
Article by Neil Thomas
Photos by Kathy F. Atkinson, Kevin Quinlan Duane Perry and Sarah Simon
Panoramic photo courtesy of UD student Laura Paulus