George A. Vinyard '71
Chair, Board of Trustees
Graduates, parents, family members. . . faculty, staff, and friends of Illinois Wesleyan --
On behalf of the trustees and alumni of the University, it is my privilege to say -- Congratulations, welcome and thank you.
We congratulate each graduate for your individual achievements. We thank you for your contributions to the University community. And we welcome you to the fellowship of Illinois Wesleyan alumni.
To the parents, family, friends, faculty and staff who are gathered here, we share your pride in the accomplishments of these young men and women, and we join them in thanking you for all you have done to help them arrive at this auspicious day.
It is a special honor for me to address you today because I speak from the perspective of someone who is 40 years removed from his own experience as a student here. Someone who is often amazed at the changes that have occurred in our world and our University, to say nothing of the inconceivable reality that I have now been a graduate more than 10 times longer than I was a student. Happily, over all the years since Commencement 1971 my appreciation for the education I obtained here has only increased, even as I have seen the University, its students and its faculty grow better and better. May the same be true for each of you in the decades to come.
And as you grapple with the great challenges and opportunities ahead, I urge you to be mindful of the Illinois Wesleyan motto. Scientia et Sapientia is generally translated as “Knowledge and Wisdom”.
“Knowledge” suggests the acquisition of true information and understanding. “Wisdom”, on the other hand, suggests something that goes far beyond the search for objective truth and reaches deeper into the realm of what it means to be human. Wisdom has been defined as the capacity to exercise sound judgment and act rightly in matters of life and conduct, choosing proper means to achieve good ends.
These words on the University seal evoke our need to achieve a proper balance of knowledge, grounded in objective observation and logical reasoning, and wisdom, informed by an understanding of humanity in all its historical, social, esthetic, moral and spiritual dimensions. It is my fervent hope and confident expectation that you are leaving this campus well prepared, both intellectually and morally, to fulfill all of the aspirations reflected in our motto -- Knowledge and Wisdom.
In conclusion, as you pursue your life’s goals, we ask that you remember and honor your University and your fellow alumni. We hope that you will continue to think of this community as your extended family and as your home. We bid you farewell as students and welcome you home as alumni. We invite you to return to your University often, whether in person or in spirit. You will always be welcome here and anyplace where Titans gather.