Valedictorian Meredith Lax’s Commencement Speech

Valedictorian Meredith Lax ’15 ’16MBA reflects on the faculty and staff who supported her and made her journey possible.

(Photo by Laura J. Cole) (Photo by Laura J. Cole)

(Video by Simple Thought Productions)

The right of passage has come! Our day of transition is here! Regardless of what path we choose, our lives, as we know it, are going to change.

I ask each one of you to consider this one thought: What would you rather be, the spectator or the participant? Will life happen to you, or will you make life happen? Your answer may well decide what the future holds for you.

What is a future without a past. And it is today that we celebrate that past because it is our past that will enable us to formulate our future. And like so many, the highlights of my past begin with Rollins College.

So as we begin the first day of the rest of our lives, we go forward with one thing we will always share. The bond that can never be broken.  For WE ARE ROLLINS COLLEGE!
And we shall carry that bond with us, wherever we go. There will always be that special something we share. A place to turn to, a friend to rely on, a professor to converse with, a campus to revisit, and reunions to cherish.

This place, this little slice of heaven, our friends, our professors, our coaches, our administrators, our brothers, and our sisters, will live with us forever. Wherever we go, whatever we do, and whatever we become.


I, like so many here today, have been blessed with a Rollins family who played an enormous role in my life. In many ways, these wonderful people are the reason I have the great honor of speaking to you today. It is my great pleasure to honor them as they stand with me, together, on this momentous day. Many of you have been most fortunate to know some of these incredible people. It is my wish, that one day, you will find a moment to thank them for being there for you and for being who they are.

Dr. Mamta Accapadi, vice president of student affairs, is truly a courageous and sincere woman dedicated to the best interests and welfare of the students.  A remarkable and genuine educator of the highest order.

Tom McEvoy, interim dean of the Crummer Graduate School of Business, who returned to Rollins as an innovator and highly energized leader. A real world visionary with an endless supply of enthusiasm and determination, committed to the success of each and every Crummer student.

Marguerite Jacobs, associate director of financial aid, whose great assistance and personal attention enabled me to attend both the undergraduate and graduate schools. Another member of the Rollins community who demonstrates a profound caring for the welfare and future of every student whose life she touches.

Valedictorians Lisa Duemmling '15 and Meredith Lax '15 during commencement on May 10, 2015. (Photo by Scott Cook) Valedictorians Lisa Duemmling '15 and Meredith Lax '15 during commencement on May 10, 2015. (Photo by Scott Cook)

Steve Booker, director of financial aid, a man of sincerity and tenacity, who is dedicated to the successful matriculation of every student seeking his assistance and guidance.

Dr. Anne Stone, my mentor, collaborator, friend, and assistant professor of communication, who was my greatest influence as a communication studies major. The one educator who opened the door to a world of opportunities I never knew to exist. Thank you, Dr. Stone.

Dr. Susan Easton, professor of communication, former chairperson of the Department of Communication, and now sharing her knowledge at the Crummer School of Business.
Dr. Jennifer Cavenaugh, associate dean of Arts and Sciences, an academic who cares about the welfare and best interests of the students.

And Dr. Lewis M. Duncan, 14th President of Rollins College, the man who enabled me to continue my academic studies as a graduate student at Rollins College.
Words cannot express my appreciation for these individuals and the profound role they played in my life at Rollins.

As for my classmates, I wish all of you happiness, serenity, and good fortune. Be everything you can be and a little more. Live your lives with kindness, love, caring, thoughtfulness, honesty, generosity, loyalty, respect, and embrace the power of an open mind.  Most importantly, let us all learn to listen. And live in a world where we give before we take!


May God Bless each and every one of you—our families, our friends, and the Rollins College Class of 2015!