The way U.S. Sen Debbie Stabenow sees it, today’s society faces many challenges stemming from constant, chaotic change—from a changing climate, to wrenching economic upheavals, to the effects of modern technology, to increasing levels of misinformation and political division.
But giving a Commencement address at Lawrence Technological University Saturday afternoon, Stabenow expressed confidence that LTU graduates are up to the challenge.
Quoting liberally from the hit musical “Hamilton,” Stabenow predicted the graduates would “be in the room where it happens, on critical issues that affect all of us.”
And she said graduates should aspire to fulfilling another line of the play, “God help and forgive me, I want to build something that’s going to outlive me.”
She said today’s graduates face three basic problems: adapting to change, maintaining personal values and priorities, and building that “something” that will outlive us.
“Your education here at Lawrence Tech can help you tackle all of these,” Stabenow said. “My advice to you is really simple. Keep learning. Keep grounded. Believe in yourself. And do something to make your community a better place.”
Stabenow noted that LTU graduates are already making a difference in many fields, from cybersecurity to medicine to infrastructure.
And, in a reference to Lawrence Tech’s ever-growing campus facilities, she joked that “being a Lawrence Tech alumnus proves you’re patient enough to put up with renovation, and more renovation, and more renovation. But I know students from 15 or 20 years ago are probably pretty jealous of this campus today.”
Summing up, Stabenow said, “I know I speak for everyone in this room when I say, we can’t wait to see what you will become and what you will achieve.”
Stabenow spoke at Saturday’s 1 p.m. Commencement, for graduates of LTU’s College of Business and Information Technology and the Departments of Biomedical Engineering, Civil and Architectural Engineering, and Engineering Technology in LTU’s College of Engineering. During the ceremony, LTU presented her with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition for her years of public service.
A 9 a.m. Commencement ceremony honored graduates of LTU’s College of Architecture and Design and College of Arts and Sciences, with an address from noted Birmingham architect Victor Saroki, who earned a Bachelor of Science in architecture from LTU in 1979, a Bachelor of Architecture in 1980, and who was presented an honorary Doctor of Architecture by LTU in 2008.
A 5 p.m. Commencement ceremony honored graduates of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical Engineering in LTU’s College of Engineering. The address was presented by Douglas Patton, recently retired senior technical advisor at DENSO International America Inc. and a member of the LTU College of Engineering Advisory Board.
In all, nearly 600 LTU students received degrees or certificates in the three ceremonies. It was the first time Commencement had ever been held on LTU’s Southfield campus. Several thousand family members and friends attended the ceremonies, and thousands more around the world watched live online.