DigiPen Commencement 2019 | DigiPen Institute of Technology

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome, students,
faculty, staff, honored guests and families
to the commencement ceremony for the class of 2019. My name is Angela
Kugler, and I’m the senior vice president of
External and Student Affairs. It’s my honor to
be your MC today. Before we begin, I’d like
to mention one small change to the program. In your program, it states that
Jason Chu will be introducing our commencement
speaker, but Mr. Chu has transferred that
honor to Chris Comair, as the recently appointed
COO of the Redmond campus. The ceremony is about to begin. Please be aware that we are
videotaping today’s ceremony, and a link to the
recording will be available online after the event. We also have professional
photographers, who are taking portraits
of all graduates and will be sending students
links to images for purchase, along with a gift from
DigiPen for a 5 by 7 photo. We will also have candid photos
available on our social media within a couple of days. And you are welcome to take
photos from your seats, but for the dignity
of the ceremony, we ask that everyone stay in
their seat during the ceremony. At this time, we ask that you
please turn off cell phones and other electronics
or handheld devices for the duration
of the ceremony. Thank you. [BAND PLAYING “POMP AND
CIRCUMSTANCE”] Please stand for the
national anthem performed by the DigiPen Vocal Ensemble. [MUSIC – DIGIPEN VOCAL ENSEMBLE,
“STAR SPANGLED BANNER”] Oh, say can you see by
the dawn’s early light. What so proudly we hailed that
the twilight’s last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright
stars through the perilous fight, o’er the
ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming. And the rockets red glare,
the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night
that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that
star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free
and the home of the brave. [APPLAUSE] Thank you to the
DigiPen Vocal Ensemble. Please be seated. I’d like to thank
you all for coming to celebrate this
special day, and I’d like to welcome Mr. Claude
Comair, our president and founder, to say a few words. [APPLAUSE] Hello. Wow. That’s loud. Well, every year, we have to
say goodbye to some of you. It is not with pleasure
that I come to this moment to tell you the truth. I actually find that,
for me, a moment of a bit of sadness
and mixed, of course, with a lot of joy for you. The sadness comes from
the fact that we’re letting go of you in the world. And I feel the same
when I actually– my sons left home, for example,
and they became adults, and they left home. Actually the, little girl that
is screaming is still home. That’s my daughter. [LAUGHTER] And she’s not going anywhere. [LAUGHTER] Over my dead body,
I would let her go. Anyway, anyway– so it’s that
sadness when you see your son or your daughter’s leaving
home, and you worry about them. But, at the same time,
you’re confident. You’re confident
that the education you gave them, the trust that
you have in them, that actually will carry on, and they
will become successful beyond your wildest dreams. And you, as a parent, can
never actually achieve what your kids or
sons would achieve. Because Gibran said– and he’s
a Lebanese poet who actually was born about 10 miles
away from my home– and that made me,
all my life, think that I am more wise than
anybody else because of him. So he said that we are– the
parents are actually the balls. And the kids are the
fletchers, the arrows. And the ball remains in
the hands of the archer, whereas the arrow would
travel and would go far. And this is what we feel
today, is that we’re actually letting you go. DigiPen is a living organism. It’s like a person. It’s like a human. It breathes. It lives. It’s actually more than a
human, more than one person. Because it has thousands of
brains, thousands of eyes, thousands of arms. So it reaches very far. It’s way more intelligent
than one being alone. And it breathes. It inhales when you
come in as freshmen, and it exhales when you leave. So it is actually
a living being. So this dream of ours
that started 31 years ago, 30 and 1/2 years ago,
you see, it started, and I am so glad that I was
joined early enough by people that were visionaries
and hardworking, and they [INAUDIBLE] today with us. The greatest majority of the
directors that we have today have an average of living
with us of over 25 years. So they believed in that dream,
and they actually made it their own, and they actually
helped us realizing it. And what is the
dream of DigiPen? The dream of the
DigiPen is very simple. It’s actually to prepare
the student to face life. And how do you
prepare your kids? You give them knowledge,
a lot of knowledge. See, when I left my country a
long time ago, about 40 years ago, I was as young as you. The only thing that I had– I had no pennies, no money,
no power, no capabilities, and I landed myself in Japan. The only thing that I
had was my knowledge. And I carried it
over my shoulders with me everywhere I went. And this fact helped me
launch myself in life. It is only my
knowledge that allowed me to succeed in my life. I do not dance very well. I do not sing. As a matter of fact, I
have a horrible tune. I mean, I would
fail at Lawrence’s– of head of the music department. I would feel grandiosely. So the only thing I
knew was my engineering. And I used the tool, the only
tool that I had, I used it. And it served me very
well, and it saved my life. And today, I am probably
one of the happiest persons in the world due to the
fact that my life was made easy because of my knowledge. And, actually, no matter how you
threw me, I landed on my feet, and I was able to
succeed and continue. And you will do better than I.
I am sure, because you are not starting from where I started. You are starting far
ahead of where I was. And I am very confident
that we have given you all the tools that you need
in order to succeed in life and forward. You have been well thought. You have been sharpened. You have been tortured. I am sure you have spent
a lot of bad times. There are a lots of your
friends that came here the day that cohort came. You probably were
almost double than that. But you are the few
that actually made it. So I am very sure that you
are going to succeed this way. I am positive in that. And the greatest majority of
you have already jobs lined up. So I’m not worried about you. So what kind of advice
should I give you? Well, I’m going to give
you some words that, actually– or some advice,
that actually I used. Honesty is the
first on my list– honesty. So be honest. Everybody makes a mistake. I think, at DigiPen,
I am the person who made the most
mistakes in that company. No employee can actually
beat me in that. The difference between people is
the way we fix those mistakes. Every one of us
will make a mistake. But what defines you
is the way you fix it. So fix your mistakes honorably. Be honest. Admit the mistake and fix it– and go forward. Learn, and go forward. Second, humility. Be humble. You know a lot, but
you don’t know it all. So when you go into a
meeting, don’t show off. I’m sure you are probably
well prepared and more prepared than many
people that have been working for
years in business, because they lost the edge. It’s like a knife that has been
cutting in the kitchen for days and days without an end. At the end of the day, the
edge is no longer sharp. And you come in, new
knife on the market. I don’t know, what
is the best knife? Ceramic knife. And you cut like crazy. But ceramic knives,
they cut but they break. So just be careful. Be humble. Be thoughtful. Help other people to achieve. Don’t be afraid to actually
share your knowledge. Only weak people are afraid
to share their knowledge. They say, it’s my secret. There are no secrets in life. Share, and people
will trust you. And you will just do better,
and you will actually outdo everybody else because
you have this perseverance that we taught you here,
and we tested you with. So what did I say? I said honesty. I said humility. I said thoughtfulness. I said to help others. And I want you to be grateful,
grateful to all the people that actually came
before you at DigiPen. All the alumni have helped
making the DigiPen better. And my hope is that when you
leave, and years from now you look back at
the DigiPen, and you will see DigiPen even better
than the time you were there. You see? So you need to actually
be assured of that. And today, I will
make a pledge for you and pledge in front of you. I will actually renew my pledge. Because about 30 years ago,
I made the pledge to myself, and I made the pledge
later on a few years later to the first graduating class,
telling them that DigiPen will not go backward. It will always go forward. Every time you come and visit
us, you will see it better. Years from now, you will
look back at DigiPen, and you will see a
better school than today. You’ll see that your
tuition did not go to waste. We have learned together, and
we will do better next year. And we will put more prepared
people on the market, and those will be your friends
and the juniors of the future, and you will be the seniors. The same way you are going
to encounter friends that have graduated from the US,
or from our campus in Europe, or from our campuses in
Asia, all of these people are DigiPen people. They’re like you. They exactly have been
brought up with the same– what do you call them– ideology, the same
principles as you, and they have the knowledge. So you can trust them to know. You can trust them to
be really dependable. They will trust you. So, basically, you’re not alone. You are part of
the DigiPen family. And nobody, none
of you, I am sure, that nobody will actually forget
this passage at the DigiPen. DigiPen is not an
normal environment. You don’t come to school, and
you go, and you forget it. It marks you. It becomes part of you. And this is why
we are successful. We are successful because
the graduates are successful. And we learn from them. We learn from you. You learn from us. We share knowledge. And this is what
is so important– sharing your knowledge. Never be afraid to share. Never to be shy to share. So today, as I told you,
I renew this promise. I renew this pledge. I pledge to you that
when you come back, you will see DigiPen better,
not only because of you. It’s also personal. DigiPen was the school
of one of my sons, who graduated from RTIS– two nephews that
graduated also from RTIS. I had the pleasure
to torture them. You can’t believe how much. [LAUGHTER] They’re all successful. Today, I have two nieces
graduating with you. I promised my niece
that I will not actually single out her,
and call her name, and make her stand up, and
say hello to everybody just to embarrass her. I will not do it, because
I really promised. But I have two nieces here
that are graduating today. So it’s a personal matter. It’s not something that
is just a job for me. You are my kids. And I consider you like my kids. It is true that before I
didn’t allow you to invite me for dinners or lunches because
I wanted this relationship to be very formal and for
me to be distant enough to solve your problems if
you ever had a problem. Well, I tell you, now that
a few minutes from now you’ll be turning this
tassel and graduating, throwing your hat up,
I’m up for invitations. You can invite me for
lunch and dinner now. I will accept. We are colleagues. We are friends. We are family. As I told you, DigiPen
is personal to me. It runs in my blood. And I would rather die
than see it hurt or bad. And I promise you, no one,
no one, as long as I live, no one– so there’s
no need to kill me– but as long as I live, no one
will graduate from DigiPen not earning it, with a degree
that they carry the degree, and they make us ashamed of
ourselves, because we gave it, and they did not
actually earn it. Because we were weak. We were dishonest. I will never accept that. So you can be sure that you
will always find a DigiPen grad that you can trust,
because that pledge is running, and it will run until
the end of my days. And I’m sure those people
who will take over, they will run with
the same ideology. So you’re going to go on. You’re going to be successful. And you should come back,
and share your experiences, and help other
generations to grow. This would be a legacy, not
just a one-person’s legacy. They always tell me
that I’m the founder. Baloney. I didn’t know anything
at the beginning of this journey 30 years ago. I just winged it. All I did is being honest,
persevering, and stubborn to the end of whatever I can– I mean, I don’t want
to continue this way, because talking
about DigiPen, I can spend another 30 years
telling you all the details and all this. We will be always
changing to become better. The mission will
remain the same. But we will be better. That’s a promise. Another thing that I
promise you is the chicken sandwich that I make– that chicken sandwich
will still be the same. We won’t modify it. It will always be garlic
chicken and a pickle. And no modifications
would be allowed. So people come to me,
can have it without– [EARLY APPLAUSE] Yes, please, thank you. [APPLAUSE] I don’t eat pickles. On another day. That day, you’ll eat pickles. You will eat it with the same
garlic paste, which I would reveal the secret before I die. The Dragon’s Breath
will survive the ages and would actually be served
the same every time you come. So you’re always, always
invited to come back. Always, food is on us. I don’t know if you would
like that, but it’s on us. So I was saying that you
go and please come back to help us continue the mission. We need you. Other generations
would need you. Certainly, you don’t want to
die of old age, hopefully, and they write on your stone. This person knew a
lot and died with it, without sharing with anybody. That would be the
biggest crime that you commit against the future. Well, this speech has to end. And, yeah, I actually– I overdid it, and I
promised the organizers not to be more than five
minutes, but I don’t care. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] Thank you. [APPLAUSE] So now that you are no longer
students, or technically no longer students,
I can tell you what I feel, really, about
every one of my students. I love you all. And I know it’s not
really professional. It’s not really dignifying
of a president of a school. But, again, I really don’t care. I actually love you all,
and I wish you all the best. And, really, you have a home. And remember, remember,
if you go out there, and you see that you
still need some education, you still need some help,
you have two years for free that you can come back and
study as much as you want. So take advantage of it. Now hopefully that we
have taught you soul so well that we don’t see you
before five, six years anyway. All right? So you take care. And, really, from the
bottom of my heart, I wish you all the
best, and you have me as a friend for the
rest of your lives. So drop by, say hello. Most likely, I’ll be doing
chicken sandwiches, OK? Thank you so much. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Mr. Cormair. And now, Mr. Chris
Comair, DigiPen COO, will introduce our commencement
speaker, Ms Patti Dobrowolski [APPLAUSE] Hey, everybody. Thanks for having me up here. Patti Dobrowolski is a national
acclaimed comic performer, high-performance
business consultant, three-time Ted X Ted speaker,
and the author of two books– Three Tips to Up Your Creative
Genius and Drawing Solutions– How Visual Goal Setting
Can Change Your Life. Co-host of Pete and Patti’s
powerful particulars podcast on iTunes, Patti
works with teams at all levels to up their creative genius
and capture their vision and strategy into
huge, beautiful visuals for global clients, such as
Nike, Starbucks, Microsoft, Zillow and the Gates Foundation. Known for her high
energy, quick wit, and committing to help
people and businesses achieve their goals, Patti
lives in Denver with her wife
Julie and two pups. Here to help all of us with our
creative genius, please help me welcome Patti Dobrowolski. [APPLAUSE] Hello! [CROWED REPEATS “HELLO”] Oh, I can’t believe it. Thank you so much for
that introduction. I just want to say
that what’s not included in that
introduction was when I started out
in high school, I wanted to be a song girl. You know, a song
girl is somebody that has this really
long, poofy hair, and they wear these
cute little skirts, and they have white
gloves, and then they do something called
the nose clap, and circles, and they show up
at all the games. And I thought this
would be my way to fit in, because, clearly, I didn’t. And so I auditioned for it. You know, I rehearse for
it, and I go out there, and everybody’s
watching, and I do it. And I do it perfectly,
but they don’t choose me. And I think, oh my god. Now what? I thought that was my way in. And so this friend of mine
came up to me and said, Patti, you know what? What you should do is
become the pep commissioner. And I’m like, pep commissioner? What’s a pep commissioner? I mean, really? Right? And they said, well,
pep commissioners are on student council. So you get out every Friday. You don’t have to go to class. And then, on Thursdays,
you make posters for all of the school events. And so I spent my high
school senior year creating thousands of
posters and showing up to get everybody pepped
up, just like you. So I stand before you
today a highly paid poster girl and pep commissioner. And so I’m here, as your
commissioner, all of you graduates. And you, all of you out
there in the audience, you’re my pep squad. Are you ready? [CHEERS] When I say 2019,
you say yes, ready? 2019. Yes! 2019! Yes! 2019! Yes! Awesome. All right, congratulations. Let’s give a big shout
out to all the friends, family everybody that’s here,
that supported you, and gave you money, and food. Let’s just give them
around of applause. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Can you guys believe it? You actually took
your obsession, and you turned it into
a lucrative career. You slayed! I mean, really, what’s true,
though, is that some of you have no feeling
left in your thumbs. No authenticating
prints for you. That’s going to make
it really hard for you to get a Global Entry card. So you can’t go anywhere. But who cares? I mean, you could just
lay back in your beanbag chair, put on your VR goggles. There you are– Paris, Italy,
bottom of the ocean, top of Everest, call in Uber Eats. But seriously, like,
you have really earned this hard-won
degree, the DigiPen diploma. I mean, this is your golden
ticket, really, to a life where your passion and your
creative genius hook up. That is sexy. Now I know that some of you
out there, you graduates are looking at me, like,
what that lady just say? Creative genius? I mean, I’m smart,
but creative genius? So let’s roll back to the
definition of creative genius so we can revamp it. So back in the ’40s– I’m talking the 1940s– that’s like when your great,
great, great grandmother was alive– in the 1940s, when they
said “creative genius,” they were talking
about a person, like Einstein, or Edison,
or Madame Curie, right? That’s the woman that– she developed radiation,
and then died from it. And then, in the 1990s,
we’re still calling people creative genius, right? We roll back there, and
there’s Steve Jobs, right? Creative genius. But in this day and age, we’ve
redefined creative genius. Creative genius is anyone who
has this high-security access to the innate capability
that we all share– our imagination. Imagination is the language
of creative genius, right? All right. So back to you,
academic acolytes, let’s paint the picture of
your awesomeness, shall we? 2019! Yes! OK. All right. The truth is that you’ve been
tapping your creative genius since you got here. It’s your superpower. It’s a direct link between you
and your budding brilliance. And creative genius has allowed
all of you to take your passion and live life from inside of it. And that is so
frickin’ fun, isn’t it? Now you’re looking
at me like, what? You made that sound so easy. What’s she talking about? Like, you put your
hand in a glove? Or I put my foot in a sock? And that’s me living
life within my passion? But, seriously, right, you
have done this amazing thing. And just like any
kind of awesome game, you enter DigiPen at
level 1, didn’t you? And then, every project– late into the night, you
test it, and tweaked, you developed, you
failed, you fixed. And every challenge, you
ramped up your skills. So today, I just want
to say, I confess that I watched some of
your 2018 projects online. So, clearly, we start off at a
very foundational level here. This is like you build PacMan
over, and over, and over again. But fast forward through
these multiple levels of intricate design
and beautiful sound score, and then here you are. You walk into this room,
and you definitely– wouldn’t you say
you have leveled up? 2019. Yes! That’s right. So welcome to the next level– life after DigiPen. I know now for some of
you, you’re like, scary! What? And the others of you
are like, bring it! Right? Am I right? OK. But it’s not like you didn’t
have life skills before. You seriously did. But now, you got this fancy
portfolio of projects. Now, you’ve got this technical
terminology and acumen. Now, I understand you can
actually collaborate in teams and act very nicely– well, most of the
time anyway, right? OK, so let’s talk about
this next-level landscape. Because in this next
level, what you’ve done is you’ve constructed this
virtual and actual life toolkit to use. But what’s that
landscape look like? So here it is, an innovation
ninja, Rita J King, she’s from Science House,
this is what she said. She said, “Soon, we’ll be
leaving behind the technology age and entering into an era
called ‘the imagination age.'” The imagination age, the
one thing that carries you through there is creativity– that’s one, and
active daydreaming. That means that you are
going to make so much money. You really are. And the way you’re
going to do that is by just accessing
that creative genius, conjuring up all of
this advanced VR, creating these intricate
sound scores that people can experience, and also
Fortnite sequals, all by day dreaming. And so good on you. Let’s do an inner Fortnite
dance, right now, shall we? All right. OK, so what skills
are going to be required of you in this
next-level landscape life? Well, like with
any good storyline, there’s going to be
some hills and valleys. But what you want
to know is, how do I get to the turn in
the plot more quickly? How do I get to
the top of the peak without having to hike
all those switchbacks so the character, you, get to
live that total work happiness, meet the phenomenal
love of your life, and you get to just
have money rain down from these poofy white
clouds in a bright blue sky, and a sunny day? Are we really in Seattle? I might have to rewrite
that part– gray sky. But here’s how you get there. Here’s how. And this is my creative
genius tip for you. Know that any time any idea or
thought catches your attention, your imagination
snaps a picture of it. And then, you
expand that picture with how you feel about it– your emotion. And then, your brain
jumps in, and it starts to create these
what-if scenarios. What if I did that? I moved to San Francisco? What if this picture happens– I meet somebody
on the light rail, we decide to work from a
yurt up in the Methow Valley? Imagination helps
you try these things on with those what-if pictures. Meanwhile, your brain
takes those pictures, seams them together
into stories. And those stories
become your life. But here’s the tricky part. Every picture in your
mind is like a seed. And you plant, and water,
and fertilize that seed by repeated focus and attention. And the more focus and attention
you put on that picture, the faster that seed germinates. This can be positive
or negative. So you either move
forward towards the things you want or backwards
towards what you fear. But it all starts in how you
view that picture, am I right? Head nodding is appropriate. All right, so let’s run
this in a movie score, OK? So in the plot of this movie,
your avatar’s name is Max. Max is a young creative
mind-seeker, decked out in acronym. Max has this wild, awesome hair. Max dials into a Zoom
call for an interview with an amazing startup for
a job that’s perfect for Max. Now Max is nervous,
but confident. I mean, Max already sent his
interactive design résumé. And so Max dials in, and the
interview is going amazingly. Unbelievably, Max
has the attention of everybody in the room. He’s Svengalied them. And so nobody’s IMing,
or swiping, or anything. And suddenly, Belinda from
HR asks Max this question that Max didn’t expect,
so he’s like, what? Suddenly, Max’s brain
is on high alert. It’s sifting through these
sequence of images pulling this picture– no, that pictur– mixing and matching, mixing
and matching, trying to come up with an amazing answer. Oh, my god, Max’s amygdala
has gotten involved. Suddenly, it’s sending
the chemical cortisol into Max’s system. Fight or flight! Fight or flight! Max’s palms are dripping
in virtual sweat. Freeze. How do we help Max? What can we do? Think. Think. Oh, I know. We gotta come up
with a secret code to help Max at this
next-level interview. All right, Max, calm down. Max, put them on pause. Mute them. Remember that lady at
your graduation ceremony a month ago? And she talked about
those pictures? Right. Right. I’m supposed to draw a
picture so I can keep my brain focused on the future. Right. OK, all right. I get a pen, piece of paper. Now, I’m going to
draw my future self. OK. An apartment in Seattle that
doesn’t cost $5,500 a month. Great! Crazy creative work, where I
get to use my skills every day. Awesome. Good, cool people who
want to hang out with me and make eye contact– but not all the time. Excellent! Max scans over these pictures. And then, Max
speed-daydreams this reality. Max? Max, are you still there? It’s Belinda. Max takes them off
mute, and the rest flows exactly as Max saw it
up here in Max’s imagination. And what did Max right at
the top of that picture? “My big life.” And the rest is history. Now if that can happen
for Max, why not you? Fact, when you draw a
picture of your future self, you look at it, and
fill it with feeling. It increases your odds
of success by 42%, even if you can’t draw– a stick figure, 42%! All right. So let’s break it up here at
this graduation, shall we? 2019! Yes! Underneath the
graduates’ chair, you’ll find a postcard and a pencil. Because let’s change those
odds for you right now. Get your card. Find it. Those of you in the audience,
you’ll have to use your program and a pencil nub you found
in the bottom of your purse. Hold up that pencil and that
card so I see you got it. OK. Turn it sideways horizontally. And at the top,
write, my big life. Put your name and the date
one year from today, April 28, 2020. Do that now. This is where the
Jeopardy song sings, and that guy keeps winning
millions of dollars. OK. Now, here’s what
I want you to do. Imagine it’s a year
from today, April 28, 2020, in the best-case
scenario, the best future you could possibly imagine. And on that card, I
want you to write two to three words that represent
your life a year from today, without your critic
getting involved. So, “overblown with
joy,” “madly in love,” “fantastically successful,”
“doing work that I love,” write that, whatever
is true for you in that future, whatever
it is that you desire, put it on that card. And then, like Max, draw
one to two pictures of it, even if you can’t draw. Do that now. She’s giving me
a look down here. Do it. You can. I know you can. That’s right. We’re going to give you
one minute to do this. Well, maybe not a whole minute. Best-case scenario. A future you want
to live inside. Two to three words. No fancy shading allowed. [LAUGHTER] OK, time’s up. Was that a minute? Probably not. But you can finish this later. But here’s what I’d say– need another minute? Raise your hand. A few people need
another minute. Hold on. Audience, can you stand it? Talk amongst yourselves. Tell your dreams of the future
to the person sitting next to you. You can do it. OK, graduates, here we go. Now put that picture somewhere
you can see it every day– dashboard of your car, bathroom
mirror, best friend’s forehead. And then every time
you see that picture, daydream it, fantasize about
it, double-click on it, some piece of it, and dream it
as if it’s happening right now. And then, get up every
day and do one thing to go get that dream. Go out, make that phone
call– one phone call to someone in the business
you want to be in. Meet that neighbor
down the road that’s got that awesome connection. And every time you
get out of a chair, meaning these chairs today,
walk as your future self today. Do this. 2019. You! And every time you come
up against some wall in your dark soul’s experience–
because you know you will. That’s part of this game
life that we’re in, right? When you come up from that
challenge and to that doorway the challenge, to that
archway and that portal, see it as a portal
for opportunity. See it as something that’s
going to help you level up. And then, sift
through your pictures so you know where you’re going. Sift through those pictures so
you’d know where you’re going. Open up that life
tool kit you built. Flex those DigiPen muscles,
walk through the portal, and dominate! 2019! Yes! 2019! Yes! 2019! Yes! Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Ms Patti
Dobrowolski for sharing your wisdom with us. Dr. Eric Mohrmann
the Dean of Faculty, will now recognize the faculty. [APPLAUSE] Graduates, you’re here. Yeah. What a fantastic day. Graduation is always a
special spot in my heart. Allow me to take a
moment to introduce our faculty by departments. And after that,
I’ll be bold enough to address you for all of
the faculty collectively. And one thing,
just to point out, there’s a few faculty tucked
around in corners of the room, instead of over at the side. We’re helping in a ceremony. So peek around and
look for them, too. So faculty, please rise
and remain standing, as your department is called. The faculty are divided into
the departments of Animation and Production, Computer
Science, Digital Arts, Electrical and Computer
Engineering, Fine Arts, Game Software Design and Production,
Humanities and Social Sciences, Mathematics, Music, and Physics. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Now I’m going to ask them to
remain standing for a moment, because we have
something to say to you. And then, you may have
something to say back. We, the faculty, are
grateful and our proud. We are grateful
for the opportunity to walk alongside you,
encouraging, striving, and, yes, demanding. We are proud of
your achievements, of your maturation,
and your perseverance. And now, then, let all of us
take a moment to recognize and thank the faculty for their
expertise and efforts, which has been dedicated to your
success over these last years. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Faculty, you can
be seated again. Next, I have the privilege of
presenting academic honors. It is my honor today to
recognize our graduate students who are graduating with
distinction, which requires a GPA of 3.7 or higher. Students, please stand
when your name is read. And guests, please hold your
applause until all of the names are read. In the Master of Science in
Computer Science Program, we have [READING NAMES] In the Master of Fine Arts
in Digital Arts Program, [READS NAME] Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] You may be seated. Next, our undergraduate students
graduating with distinction with a GPA of 3.5 or higher– students, again, please
stand when your name is read. And I know it’s hard, but
please hold your applause until all of the names are read. In the Bachelor of Fine Arts
in Digital Arts and Animation– [READING NAMES] Congratulations. [APPLAUSE] Students, you may now be seated. Next, we’ll be presenting
the program valedictorians. The following
students respectively have the highest GPA
in their graduating class for their degree program. Those who chose to
participate in this ceremony are recognized here today. Valedictorians,
please come up to this stage when your name is called. For the Bachelor of Fine Arts
in digital arts and animation, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of
Arts in Game Design, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of Arts
in Music and Sound Design, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of Science in
Computer Science and Computer Engineering, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of Science in
Computer Science, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of Science
in Computer Science and Game Design, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of Science in
Computer Science and Digital Audio, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] For the Bachelor of
Science in Computer Science in Real-Time Interactive
Simulation, [READS NAME] [APPLAUSE] Please join me one more time
in congratulating our 2019 valedictorians. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Congratulations, students,
and thank you Dr. Mohrmann. It is time now for the
nominated student speakers who will be introduced by Ellen
Beeman, senior lecturer in the Department of Game
Software Design and Production. The student speakers were
nominated by faculty and staff to speak to their
graduating class. [APPLAUSE] So Christopher Onorati was
my student and lead TA for me for two years. He didn’t just help only
the students in my classes, but all did DigiPen students. Our students have a saying,
“No one gets through to DigiPen alone.” And they haven’t had
to, in part, because of people like Chris. In the words of the character
Dipper Pines from the animated show Gravity Falls– that’s the baseball cap
he wears all the time– “The best you can
do is strive to be someone who is worthy of love.” Chris, you’ve done so
much for so many people. I can’t count the number
of students you’ve helped. You’ve proven yourself
worthy over and over again, and we love you for it. I’m not going to cry. All right, please welcome
our first student speaker, Christopher Onorati. [APPLAUSE] Hello everyone. Wow. Let me tell you, that took me
forever to think of saying. Longer than I really
care to admit. Hello, everyone. It’s kind of funny that finding
my voice for those two words was so difficult, isn’t it? Two simple words were probably
the hardest thing for me to think of saying
to all of you, yet I’ve said them
both today probably at least a dozen times, maybe
not together, but a dozen times today. But it’s not really
the words I found difficult saying or
writing down, I suppose. It’s the concept of the words
that I found challenging, the concept of having
to start something that felt so huge
and so overbearing yet I knew I was fully capable
of doing, a sentiment I am sure applies to a lot of us when
beginning our time here at DigiPen together,
a sentiment I am sure applies to a lot of
those who came to support us today when seeing us off so
many years ago, as we started to learn and grow together
over the years we spent here. The only thing I
could think of when starting this speech that would
be harder than the beginning is the end. And before I go on about
that, let me spell out something for you right now. This speech is going to end
in about six or seven minutes, I promise. It’s nice to be able to know
that there’s a finish line. And with that said, I think the
scariest thing for most of us is that there are no
finish lines anymore, just one overbearing question
that applies to all of us from this point on, what’s next? You’ve graduated from DigiPen
with a degree under your belt. What’s next? Your son, daughter, or
cousin, grandchild, friend– they’ve graduated and
are on a new journey. What’s next? The students you’ve
taught and mentors are leaving to go on to a
new adventure in their life. What’s next? It’s a unifying
question, really. And the great thing
about DigiPen, a secret thing it taught us
is that it’s OK to not know the answer to that question. In many ways, it’s
probably better to not know the answer
to that question. And to make that
point, I’m going to use a pretty apt metaphor. Life is like making a
game, ironically enough. I probably got some eye rolls. I know. I know. Get them out. But let me share with
you why I said that. First, when making
a game, you come up with all these amazing
and useful ideas– plans, wishful
thinking, honestly, just the best idea of
what’s going to happen, but most likely won’t. When I was a kid, I wanted
to be a train conductor. That happened. We can all see it. But then, no, I thought,
how silly of me. No, I’m going to be a chef. Yeah, that happened as well, if
you count microwaving dinners. I haven’t cooked in years. The list goes on
and on for me, and I can make a fairly
confident guess it goes on and on for most of you. Who thought when they
were in first grade that they would be an artist,
a programmer, a game designer, an animator, a rigger? Probably not even half
of us, if even a fourth. I’m only speaking
for myself, I imagine there are many parents
and guardians here today who were scratching their heads
in confusion as we proposed the 15th or 16th thing we were
going to be when we grew up. To those who went through
that head-scratching, thank you for your support. So, anyways, when you
start making a game, you keep having
these amazing ideas. You keep coming up
with these crazy ideas, and they keep going in
opposite directions. But then you do find
it– the crazy– that crazy thing that just puts
a smile on your face and others when just even
thinking about it. And find it we did. The reel that we saw,
it was a testament to student accomplishments
here today. How many things in there
made you say, whoa? How many things in there
brought a smile to your face? The ability to do
that, the ability to bring that level of happiness
to family, to strangers, to yourself while doing so– I say that’s pretty crazy. So, cool, you have the plan. It has the crazy. What’s next? You begin prototyping,
making that rough draft. You try things out,
throw them at the wall, you see what sticks. No matter how skilled
many of us are today– and I mean all of us, not just
the people who are graduating– you started out somewhere,
somewhere probably kind of rough, kind of scrappy,
and probably embarrassing if you were showing it compared
to where you are today. In life, that’s
the first 18 years. Shadow boxes, posters, science
fair projects, presentations– all those little stepping stones
that probably didn’t seem like they were going anywhere– those were our
first rough drafts. And maybe some of
them didn’t really have any big application and
where we got in the long run. That’s fine. Most prototypes don’t
make it that big. They don’t even see
the light of day. But they do guide us. All right, so what have we
got so far in my metaphor? An idea, it has the crazy, some
rough drafts and prototypes, we maybe threw some of them out. What’s next? We can still answer
that question. It’s production–
making a solid base to build and keep building–
maybe some small projects or sketchbooks. It’s all the crazy that we
wanted to do and put them in together in one
solid place, a song that we could find
the time to write. What DigiPen gave us is
the tools, the mentors, and the peers that can help
encourage us, to mold us and to strengthen that
base time and time again until we had masterpieces
ready to bloom on our hands. And I don’t mean the projects,
although, surely they are masterpieces. I mean the students. So now we have our
nice solid base that has years of
work hidden behind it. What’s next? Well, in games, it’s polish. To be clear, that means
adding little details, the fine touches, those
little subtle moments that really bring the whole
experience together. For many people,
that polish stage can be compared to the
last years in school– getting the final
bits of knowledge, completing the masters
thesis or research project– again, just think of that reel. That’s the polish. So your game is done. It’s ready to be
released to the world. What’s next? It’s really impossible to know. It’s OK. How we came up with
our crazy idea– it was from not knowing. There’s one thing,
though, that I’ve heard one of my favorite
people and mentors say. Be excellent every day. You’ll be fine. Before I head off the stage,
as that promised six or seven minutes comes to an end,
there’s one last thing I would like to say. Go, Dragons. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Hello, again. So our second speaker
is Ben Albertson-Gass. Ben is someone I believe,
like many of our students, has the ability to
change the world. As this year’s Student
Senate president, he spearheaded some
incredibly important changes at our college,
changes that will have a major positive impact
for many years to come. This is for students
and for faculty. We all owe him for this. I’ve always believed
that one person really can make a difference. And if I ever stop
believing that, I hope Ben here is
proof that it’s true. Please welcome Benjamin
Albertson-Gass. [APPLAUSE] Just for the record,
for my parents, I did not ask her
to say any of that. I believe that was genuine. [LAUGHTER] Good afternoon, and welcome to
all of our friends and family to the 2019
commencement ceremony for the DigiPen DigiPen
Institute of Technology. I’ve been honored to
be selected to address such a wonderful
audience, an audience that has cheered on, supported,
and inspired many of my peers up here today. There’s a lot of
events that happen at DigiPen that many of you
don’t get to witness firsthand. So I’m going to try sum up as
many of our common experiences as I can in roughly 10 minutes. I understand that’s a
very short amount of time to say much of anything,
but our professors have assigned us more
ridiculous tasks in less time. So I think it’s to
say that DigiPen has prepared me adequately. When I wrote the speech,
it was 12:30 in the morning before the speech
was due for approval. Concurrently, I was staring down
approximately eight assignments in about five days. To all those professors,
whose assignments you were waiting on, it’s
not that I was slacking off. It’s that I was saving the best
for last, and all of you tied. [LAUGHTER] I’ve gained more weight in April
than I have in the last three years, and I don’t know what
going to bed before 2:00 AM feels like anymore. So if you allow me, I’m going
to skip hypothetical questions, such as, was it worth it? And, would I do it again? Instead, I’m going
to take some time to talk about who is sitting
in front of me, what DigiPen prepared us for and some
lessons that all of us can take away from these
absurd plus or minus four years on this campus. DigiPen is certainly
a culture shock, regardless of your
previous background. Many of my peers came to this
institution wide-eyed and bushy tailed, straight
out of high school, looking to leave their mark on
the industry that many of them have been participants
in since they were born. I remember many
of these students sporting their gaming-related
shirts and backpacks, asking me politely
or not so politely if I’ve ever played
this game or that game. They now had a
captive audience who shared their passions
and their interests. And that’s genuinely a
hard thing to come by. DigiPen is already looking
like a great institution, and we’ve barely set
foot in the front door. For some of us,
though, we didn’t come to DigiPen straight
out of high school, and this is where
it gets tricky. Everyone has a story to tell. And for once, I don’t get
the pleasure of speaking on behalf of 1,200 students. I can only tell you my story. Before DigiPen, I went to
a four-year state college, one of the top colleges
for computer science in the United States. And I managed to fail
out on the semester I was intended to graduate. Not all was wasted, though. I met my partner, who’s now
my wife, at that university. We moved in together– at my parents’
place, but it counts. [LAUGHTER] We traveled westward looking
for work and education. And to make a very
long story short, I was a retail manager
for about four years, and there’s only so
many times you can hear, “Ugh, there’s no price
on it; must be free,” before you start
losing your mind. So I applied to DigiPen. Six months later, I was
now leaving six states away from my partner while attending
at a notoriously difficult institution. I didn’t share the
optimism that my peers did. Very candidly, one of
my most vivid memories is the orientation speech
given by our founder. Without any sarcasm at all, he
simply said, look to your left, and look to your right. One of those people won’t
be here when you graduate. For some, that’s true. For me, both of them
are in this crowd. Well done. [APPLAUSE] He also said that
you won’t have time for your friends, your
girlfriends, spouses, partners, what have you. And this is the
only time where I’m going to brag in this speech. After my freshman
year, I got married. And on Tuesday, it will be
my third year anniversary. I don’t know if my
partner realized that she would also be surviving
DigiPen, but she did it. [APPLAUSE] So being at this podium
is a win for all of us. But, again, the
speech isn’t about me. I could go on for hours. It’s about all of us walking
across the stage today. And I genuinely wish I
had more than 10 minutes to address each student’s
success individually. One of the perks of
a small institution is that everyone
interacts with everyone. And I’m generally afraid that
your child, your grandchild, your niece, your nephew, your
cousin, family friend, whoever, will downplay their
accomplishments. Do not let them do that. I can tell you
firsthand that my peers are some of the most
absurdly dedicated and hardworking people I’ve ever
had the privilege of knowing. And many of the projects
they produced and developed is beyond any expectations
you have of them. It’s honestly difficult
for many of us to step back for just a
moment and admire what we’ve accomplished. Help them do that today. When you all go out to
dinner later tonight, brag about them
to the waitstaff. When you’re in
public, embarrass them by shouting about how your
child is a graduate at DigiPen, and you’re damn proud of them. For a group of
mostly introverts, that’s going to be tough
for them to deal with. They will learn. DigiPen prides itself on being
a simulation of the industries that we are choosing to go into. We know what a product
cycle is, starting from the way-too-ambitious
visions we carry in our heads all the way through
the end product that we share with the world. We know about the
passion that goes into each brushstroke, each
line of code that never works, each note that musicians play– I’m a programmer. [LAUGHTER] We know that feeling
of relief that goes into the final
submission of each project. And we intimately
know every single one of our moments of distress,
victory, panic, and success. We know what it’s like to work
upwards of 60 hours a week. Of course, this is DigiPen. It’s continuing to
grow, and change, and adapt its vision of success
after 30 years of education of students. The industries we are
choosing to go into are also changing
before our eyes. The employees of our industries
are speaking up about poor pay, unreasonable deadlines,
subpar working conditions, and the threat of
losing their jobs should they talk on the record
about any of these things. I may have just
been blacklisted. [APPLAUSE] That wasn’t even
the applause line. [LAUGHS] The winds of unionizing
an industry that needed it 10 or 20 years ago
are finally starting to blow. Now by no means am
I using my platform to make such controversial
stances that, employees should been paid for their
talent, and anyone who says crunch is
necessary is a liar. I would never abuse this– [APPLAUSE] I would never abuse
this podium to do so. You can find me in
reception, or you can find me at the
Black Raven in Redmond where I’ll talk to you
about this at length. [LAUGHTER] I am suggesting, though, that
these industries are volatile, and I firmly believe that we are
on the precipice of something greater. The industry needs vocal,
passionate leaders. And convening on walking across
the stage with many of them today, I have absolutely
no doubt in my mind that my peers will be
some of the faces you see when we talk about games, or
film, or music, or engineering. DigiPen leads by example. And DigiPen has
provided the framework to truly change what
the career path looks like for everyone involved. It’s amazing to see
who I am now compared to who I was four years ago. Sure, we’re better
programmers, and designers, and artists, and
composers, and engineers, but have arguably become
radically different people with different philosophies
throughout this course. I attribute a lot of this to
the not-so-obvious lessons that our instructors
have taught us. I’ve been told too
many times that there’s no such thing as a free
lunch, as there’s no one best algorithm for every problem. We need to stay flexible,
and adaptable, and hungry. I’m starving. I haven’t had lunch yet. [LAUGHTER] My networking class taught
me that there’s no such thing as an objective truth. Truth, in a sense, is a
collective understanding and agreement of our world. I personally
believe in the truth that our industry can be a
place of nurturing growth. And I believe in the truth
that this industry belongs to everyone, both people
who look and sound like me, and people who are
currently aren’t afforded the same opportunity. Whoo. Thank you. [APPLAUSE] My epic literature
class taught me that most heroes
aren’t necessarily intelligent or strong. Most of them, at least
in Western cultures, are bumbling idiots who
happen to be charismatic. This is good news for me. Oh, I’m not up here for my GPA. Heroes are advocates
for who they love, whether that’s a partner,
their friends, their community, or merely themselves. If absolutely
nothing else, DigiPen has taught me
advocacy for my peers and self-advocacy for myself. I’ve also learned in
my statistics course that by the time
I can quit working and spend more time with
my kids and grandkids, Hawaii will be under water. Do not purchase retirement
property in Hawaii. I realize I only have
a few minutes left to speak to all of
you, and I thank you for letting me do that. So if I may, I’m
going to spoil the end game real quick for my peers. [COLLECTIVE GASPS] Everyone panics. It’s great. The graduates in front of
me aren’t future leaders. They’ve been leaders
for the last four years. They’re leaders right now. Be proud as hell
for them, as I’m confident they weren’t
aware of just how brutal this school truly was
when we stepped our first steps onto the campus. I had no idea. And because I love
giving unwanted advice, I’m going to go ahead and
share one piece with my peers. Look up, move forward. Some of you guys walking
on the sidewalk on Willows look ridiculous looking down. Look up. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] You may not always
feel that you always have your feet underneath you. I understand that. I’ve been off balance
for the last four years. I wear flip-flops. However, we’re all
still standing today. Take a moment to look
back and really absorb how far you’ve come. Realize that road,
through all the tripping, and stumbling, and
standing back up, and dusting off our
shoulders, got you here today. All of you, myself included,
have 36 feet left to go, which is the length
of the stage, for anyone who’s counting. Of course, you lose
your place at the end. [LAUGHS] To our
professors, sincerely, thank you for giving us
a hand back up when we fell, or, for some of you,
shoving us down, and then offering a hand back up. Both are applicable. To all the parents and
friends in the audience, thank you for your support
for the last four years. Many of us couldn’t have made i
t without you, and I mean that. To my peers, thank you for
your patience, and hard work, and sacrifice, and putting
up with my nonsense. Our new first steps
in our careers start as we walk out these
lobby doors, diploma in hand, belt on your shoulder,
paving the road for those who come after us. Cheers. [APPLAUSE] Thank you, Chris and Ben,
for those great words to your class. Next, we are ready
for the presentation of candidates for degrees. As a reminder, we ask that
guests stay in their seats during the ceremony and
not approach the stage, as we have professional
photographers who will be sharing links to
photos of all graduates within the next few days. We are ready to confer
degrees to our graduates. Conferring degrees
for the MFA program is Mark Henne, Director of the
Masters in Fine Arts program. The Master of Fine
Arts in digital arts combines foundational
coursework in the fine arts with extensive digital
production experience to help students develop
both their personal skill and artistic voice. [READS NAME] Congratulations, Hannah. That actually concludes
the MFA program. [LAUGHTER, APPLAUSE] Conferring degrees
for the MSCS program is Dimitri Volper, Director
of the Masters of Science and Computer Science Program. The Master of Science
and Computer Science allows students to further
their understanding of computer science while specializing
in an advanced subdiscipline of simulation software and
video game development. [READING NAMES] Next, we have the BFA program. Conferring degrees for the BFA
in Digital Art and Animation is Jazno Francoeur, Director
of the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. The Bachelor of Fine Arts
in Digital Art and Animation teaches students the
techniques, processes, and tools that professional
artists use to create powerful, affecting imagery for
games, animated films, and other digital media. [APPLAUSE] [READING NAMES] Conferring degrees
for the BAGD program is Jeremy Holcomb, the director
of the game design programs. The Bachelor of
Art in Game Design combines game design theory
and practice with coursework in the humanities,
social science, art, and the fundamentals of
mathematics and computer science to produce graduates
with a deep knowledge of how to craft compelling
game experiences. [READING NAMES] Next, we have the Bachelor of
Art in Music and Sound Design Program. Conferring degrees
for the BA MSD program is Lawrence Schwedler, director
of the Music and Sound Design programs. The Bachelor of Arts in
Music and Sound Design focuses on the
creative principles of interactive sound design. This program combines
foundational coursework in music, including music
history, composition, theory and performance, with practical
training and studio recording techniques and sound
design principles. Students who successfully
complete the BA in Music and Sound
Design Program will be able to create engaging
game and film soundtracks by applying music concepts in a
real-world studio setting, not just as a sound designer,
but as an effective team member with a
broad understanding of the game-development process. [READING NAMES] Also conferring degrees
for the BS CSDA program is Lawrence Schwedler, the
director of the Music and Sound Design programs. The Bachelor of Science in
Computer Science and Digital Audio combines the disciplines
of computer science, audio engineering, and music. This degree program focuses
on audio programming and digital signal processing,
along with audio production and implementation to train the
next generation of game audio programmers in the development
of adaptive soundscapes and the tools needed
to build them. [READING NAMES] Next is Bachelor of Science
in Computer Science and Game Design. Conferring degrees for
the BS CSGD program is Ben Ellinger, director
of the Game Design programs. The Bachelor of Science in
Computer Science and Game Design combines game
design theory and practice with coursework in computer
science, mathematics, the humanities, social
sciences, and arts to produce graduates who are
proficient computer scientists and designers. [APPLAUSE] [READING NAMES] Conferring degrees for
the Bachelor of Science in Computer
Engineering program is Charles Duba, the vice president
of Institutional Advancement and Strategic Initiatives. The Bachelor of Science in
Computer Engineering program educates engineers to
understand both sides of the hardware-software
interface, from designing circuits to
creating operating systems. Multidisciplinary in
scope, the CE curriculum integrates the fields of
electrical engineering and computer science. [READING NAMES] Next, we have the Bachelor of
Science and Computer Science program. Conferring degrees
for the BS CS program is Samir Abou Samra,
chief technology officer and director of the CS program. The Bachelor of Science
in Computer Science prepares students
to develop software through a combination of
computer science theory and continuous
practical application in team-based projects. Students learn to gather, store,
and analyze real-world data to connect and harness the
power of distributed computing devices and to create
digital interfaces that are natural and intuitive. This background
prepares students to not only understand
the technologies of today, but to find solutions to
problems that seem unsolvable, and collaboratively build
the technologies of tomorrow. [APPLAUSE] [READING NAMES] Next, we have the
Bachelor of Science in Computer Science in Real-time
Interactive Simulation. Also conferring degrees
for this program is Samir Abou Samra, our chief
technology officer and director of the CS RTIS program. The Bachelor of Science
in Computer Science in Real-Time
Interactive Simulation focuses on developing,
implementing, and programming complex
interactive simulations and computer graphics
in real time, giving the students
the knowledge and skills to produce highly
complex software systems at a professional level. [APPLAUSE] [READING NAMES] Please join me in giving
a round of applause for all of our graduates. [APPLAUSE] Each year, as new
cohorts join DigiPen, our president Mr.
Comair greets them during new season
orientation and ask that they leave their
voices at the door and trusts us to teach
them what we know. Then each year at graduation,
once students have made it through the proverbial or
not-so-proverbial gauntlet, he returns their voices to them. So with that, please welcome
Mr. Claude Comair back to the stage for the
return of student voices. [APPLAUSE] Thank you. Well, a few years
ago when you just joined, I made this famous
speech where I said, look to your left,
look to your right, and probably you won’t
see these people anymore. But, obviously, I
was proven wrong, because our friend here, he has
two buddies on both sides that are still here. Well, this makes
me happy, actually, because I don’t like
to lose students. But the fact is that
DigiPen presents a gauntlet. And everything that is worth
it is difficult in this world. Something that is easy to obtain
will not last a long time, and it’s probably useless
to you in the long run. But something that you have
to really fight and struggle and only very few can actually
receive the final reward, that is something that you
will cherish and keep forever. Before I actually do
the official release of your voices, I will explain
to you how it happened. There was a student that
actually ended up working– graduated and ended up working
at the Nintendo software technology. I’m not sure if you
are aware of it, but I am one of the co-founder
of this organization. And upon my retirement,
every one of these employees wrote something in a book
and actually made a video. And this gentleman, which
I don’t want to name, he said to me on the video that
when he entered as a student, I told him that he
couldn’t speak anymore. He had to listen. Which I do, actually. If you remember, in my first
speech, I tell you from now on, you listen to us,
and you speak little. And we really don’t
care about your opinion. We actually are the experts. And if you are an
expert of some kind, either join us or
go somewhere else. I did say that. So I say it less and less
these days because it seems that this is offensive. And people are fragile,
and they can’t handle it. But this gentleman,
he said to me, well, you know, I lost my
voice at DigiPen, and I thought I was
going to get it back. I entered at NSD. And here, I find you again. And I lose it again. So now that you are
retiring, Mr. Comair, could you be kind to
return my voice to me? So I realized that
what I was doing, I was actually
taking your voices, and it was imperative
to give it back to you. So we started a tradition at the
graduation several years ago, is where I will actually
give you back your voice, and you actually use it
at its maximum volume to make sure that
it is with you now. So, basically, I
will count to three, and you will scream to
bring down the building, not like when Patti said
2019, and you said, yeah. That will not work with me. Now with a voice, you
also receive the force. So you can think of me as
Yoda or something like that. I’m giving you back the
voice with the force. So use it wisely. So I’m going to count to three. And at the count of
three, you would scream. And I don’t like to tell you,
OK, that wasn’t good enough. We’re going to repeat. All right? OK. But first, I need my chair. Because somebody
forgot the chair. You can hear me? [AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE] Good. I’m going to sit down, because
you all deserve my respect, and you deserve that I give
you a standing ovation. It is true. Now we are colleagues. But I cannot give you a
standing ovation if I’m already standing. So I’m going to sit down,
and I’m going to stand up. There you go. And now, I offer you all
my respect and admiration. You made it. So now, the count to three. OK, again, I remind you. I don’t want, like, eh, and then
I say, OK, let’s do it again. It’s not good, right? It’s one time. We destroy the building. They call us terrorists,
whatever you want. But we need that voice
to be heard, all right? Promise? [AFFIRMATIVE RESPONSE] OK. That yeah was not so good, yeah? One! Two! 2 and 1/2! Three! [SCREAMING] Yes, yes! [SCREAMING CONTINUES, MICROPHONE
TAPPING] Come on! Enjoy it! Enjoy it! You’re not screaming! [SCREAMING CONTINUES] OK, OK. OK, it’s with you now, right? You’re sure of it? OK. So now, still, speak
little, listen a lot. OK, I love you all. And with this, I say
goodbye and, hopefully, I will see you often
at the DigiPen. And if you need us, you need
help, we are still for you, and we are still with you. You guys take care. I enjoyed this presentation. I really don’t know
what comes next. I will follow. And I will take back my chair. [APPLAUSE] Before we conclude
today’s ceremony, I’d like to take a moment to
thank the following people– those on stage, Claude Comair,
Eric Mohrmann, and Chris Comair for their roles in
overseeing our education and honoring our
graduates today; Patti Dobrowolski for the
inspirational speech; Benjamin Albertson-Gass
and Christopher Onorati for their motivational
addresses to the student body; Mojan Ahmadi and the
Commencement Committee for planning the ceremony;
and the Office of Student Affairs for their
continuous support; the Marketing and
Communications Department for their audio-visual
support and publications for the ceremony; our faculty
and staff for their hard work and commitment to our
students’ education; the DigiPen Jazz Ensemble and
Vocal Ensemble for today’s music; Lynnwood Convention
Center for providing the refreshments and
the beautiful space; and finally, thank
you to all of you, family and friends,
for your support and helping our students
reach this point. Please remain seated until the
head party and the students have left the hall. Following the
recessional, please join us for a reception
on the first floor, where light refreshments
will be served. At this time, graduates, please
stand, and turn your tassels, and prepare to throw
your caps in the air. OK, everyone, please join me and
give a huge round of applause to our 2019 graduates. [APPLAUSE, CHEERING] Congratulations. [APPLAUSE, CHEERING] [JAZZ ENSEMBLE MUSIC]

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