Saturday we graduate the last of our original Ambassadors. I’m a little surprised that Casey is leaving us. Intellectually curious, an adventurer, dancer, traveler, social entrepreneur, economics and finance major, honors in the major student and Miss UCF contestant, I can’t think of anyone who has taken more advantage of what a university has to offer than Casey. She thrives here. Casey is certain to return to an institution of higher learning near you, probably as a graduate student, then as a faculty member. Eh, she might be a little too stylish to become a faculty member—maybe she’ll reinvent that role, we’ll see.
We didn’t need an Ambassador program to engage Casey. She came ready to roll and embodies what I want our culture to produce: graduates armed with a diverse set of experiences, a broad network of professional peers and strong analytic skills who aren’t afraid to define success on their own terms and take risks in pursuit of their dreams.
What I hope the ambassador program gave Casey is a sense of how difficult it is to get others to buy into a future you see so clearly, but they have yet to experience. It is humbling, unglamorous work to engage the unengaged–done more often in the trenches than on the stage. Use what you have learned about failure, persistence, pivoting and not believing your press clippings to further all those causes of yours, Casey. Charge on woman. Do those great things and if you want to come back someday, don’t worry we will still be here for you. You are most certainly a part of us.