In the conferral of degrees the university president traditionally gives a charge to the graduates, conveying his advice and expectations. Your degrees are being awarded jointly by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and the University of Maryland College Park. Your diploma will certify that you have met the high standards of this Center and identify you as a member of our family of environmental scholars. I hope you are as proud of that as we are proud of you.
Thus, I am confident that this certification will become even more valuable to you as you pursue your career. Your degree carries the reputation and prestige of having been trained at one of the world’s preeminent research centers focused on the land-ocean margin.
However, neither you nor this Center should view this as the conclusion of our relationship, but the commencement of a new one. This new relationship depends on a mutualistic symbiosis in which both you and the UMCES faculty bear important responsibilities.
I charge the UMCES faculty to continue on its path of global eminence through excellence in research, fecundity in the production of superb graduates to succeed these graduates, and contributions to a sustainable future for our planet. In doing so, the faculty shall commit to adding value to your degrees over time.
I charge our graduates to add to our reputation through your outstanding accomplishments. After all, the long-term stature of an institution is affected as much by the successes of its students as by the discoveries and reputation of its faculty.
I also charge you to always uphold the standards that this Center and its faculty stand for. Conduct your professional activities with the highest level of integrity, never been more important than in these times. Always keep an open mind for new explanations and ideas. Work together effectively and innovatively across disciplines. Forever remember that our privilege to do science is based fundamentally on the service of that science to society—this is a sacred contract. Change reality when you can, adapt to it when you cannot. Commit both to resolving and to solving the world's daunting environmental problems.
On this great day, we are proud of you all. Set a course and head out in the world, but stand ready to change your course as surely you must. Solve the unsolvable and shape the future and you will continue to make your UMCES family of faculty, staff, students and alumni very proud.