Pace University Undergraduate Commencement 2015
Recently, I was honored to be part of my alma mater, Pace University’s, undergraduate commencement. It was an incredible sight to see all the young adults embark on their futures like I had 30 years ago. In addition to serving as the commencement speaker, I was also given an honorary doctorate degree. Now I can say I’m Dr. Klarberg!
All jokes aside, my history with Pace is a long-running one that I am proud to add to as much as possible. Pace is where I began my journey to who I am today. It started as a 15 year old, and the university took a chance on me even though I didn’t have a high school diploma. After graduating, I earned my master’s at 25 and was teaching as an Adjunct Professor at the school literally days afterwards. Not only does this serve as a personal accomplishment, but also as my commitment to this life changing institution.
Just like these graduates will be able to say in the coming years, Pace provided me with the education, foundation and confidence to embark on life’s journeys. It’s why I strive to give back whenever and however possible. When something can do so much for you, it feels incredible to give something back to it.
At Pace, I came to an early life revelation that financial rewards would come, but I would never sacrifice learning for it. My father also instilled a valuable life lesson in me that I passed on to the graduates: “Be proficient at your job, be of service to others and tell a good joke.” As a leader in your field with a sense of humor, you are sure to go far. I also passed on to them the importance of time–our most important asset. Without a sense of time we can lose track of who we are and what matters to us. If we don’t pay attention to time, we could lose our entire sense of personal balance.
Additionally, I paid homage to the great David Letterman with my own top ten list for graduates to remember
after graduating from Pace. While I won’t go into the entire list, some points I urged them to take with them was: establishing a legacy for themselves by helping others; leading by example; listening to others; and even if you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there. It’s important to seize the moment.
And I hope those moments present themselves on multiple occasions in all their lives in the coming years. These young adults are on their way to not only carving out paths for themselves, but also potentially for others. These faces in the crowd can one day become leaders and innovators. They may even end up delivering the commencement speech at Pace’s graduation one day as well.
I want to thank President Friedman, Dean Braun, the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty and the graduating class of 2015 for allowing me to share this day with them. All the best to them as they embark on their incredible endeavors.