May in America is graduation season which means that there are probably more heartfelt, inspiring speeches given in this month alone than all the other 11 combined. Given this relatively bustling field, it’s all the more impressive when one particular address is able to set itself apart from the crowd. Matt Brinton, president of the recently formed Young Alumni Council, gave just such a stand-out speech to a crowd of soon-to-be graduates at our recent Senior BBQ event.
Mr. Brinton is in a rather unique position to deliver these words of wisdom: he graduated from UNC with a BS in Sport and Exercise Science in 2005, but he will soon be rejoining our campus in the fall as a member of the 2013 Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership PhD cohort. Perhaps this perspective is what allowed him to speak so eloquently on the topic of remaining connected to the UNC community after graduation.
So, in the spirit of the season, we’d like to share a few selections from Matt Brinton’s speech as a kind of tribute to all of the things that make our university unique and ultimately worthy of our time and talent.
On the milestones of college life: “For many of us, the memories that we create here will stay with us throughout our entire lives. That rush of excitement when you receive your acceptance letter in the mail. The chaos of move-in day and meeting your roommates for the first time. Connecting with a favorite professor or staff member who will later become your friend and mentor. Navigating the ups and downs of day-to-day college life. The thrill of realizing that you have just completed your last undergraduate project or test. Maybe even the realization that you have met someone you will spend the rest of your life with; for the record I met my wife at the Cactus and we had our wedding reception in the Panorama room at the UC.”
On the things that make UNC special: “When I asked my six year old daughter earlier this week what her favorite thing about UNC was she told me, ‘Daddy, I like where the Go Bears play, because sometimes they have a jumpy castle. Oh, and I also like that place I get cheese pizza, they have fun posters on the wall.’ At six, she has already defined her first memories of what it means to be a member of this UNC Community: Saturday afternoon football games and Roma’s on 8th.”
On staying connected to the university through technology and active involvement: “Especially with the creation of the Young Alumni Council, we are focusing now more than ever on what Young Alumni want and need. These opportunities to connect afford participants with chances to build their personal and professional networks and they could very well open up the doors that will allow you to begin another new adventure. […] We provide you with a variety of opportunities so that you can pick and choose where you want to get involved. I hope you will consider taking the first step and follow the Alumni Association and the university through social media. From there, the possibilities are endless.”
On the YAC’s mission of mentorship and support: “The Young Alumni Council is here to assist with your transition from undergraduate to alumni and I do truly hope you will connect with us; many of our members are here tonight. Seek out [one of our representatives] and ask him or her questions about why they are involved with UNC. Find out more about what it means to be joining this association. I know that you will find in us a passionate group of alumni who are dedicated to both your personal success and that of our alma mater.”
If you’d like to read Matt Brinton’s speech in its entirety, click here. If your appetite for witty and uplifting rhetoric still isn’t satisfied, check out this very funny speech graduation speech given by UNC alumnus and Ally McBeal star Greg Germann.
What was the best advice you ever received as a UNC student? How have you maintained a relationship with our campus community since graduation? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section!