One duty of the Chair of the Academic Senate is to deliver brief remarks to the graduates at commencement. Below is a copy of the remarks that I delivered to the Office of the President for inclusion in the ceremony.


Hello graduates. My name is Jason Miller, and I am the Chair of the University’s Academic Senate.

I am here to convey from my 438 faculty colleagues a hearty CONGRATULATIONS! (arms raised)

When I went to college, the president assembled us first year students for a convocation and said to us, “Look at the person on your right. Now look at the person on your left. In four years, one of those students will no longer be here.” He said this as if he was proud of the idea that so many students would not make it to commencement. Looking back, this kind of statement astounds me.

This is not the way we roll at CI.

From before Day 1 we invested in your success. Providing accessible faculty, small class sizes, opportunities for study abroad, and hands-on learning experiences like service learning projects and faculty-mentored undergraduate research, we helped you grow and exceed your own self-expectations. We want every student to succeed, and we are so proud that you have made it here, today.

You’ve probably heard that the University is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its founding this year. We are a young University. We’re propbably the youngest public undergraduate University in the US. The school’s founders wanted to build an innovative University for the 21st century guided by our Mission Pillars of being international, integrative, multicultural, and engaged with our community.

That vision continues. We wanted students to have access to rich learning experiences in a supportive environment that prepares them to go out into the world and be leaders, innovators, and assets to their communities. You are those students, and as you join the growing roster of CI graduates, think about the experiences you had at CI that helped you get here, today. Consider sharing those with me, or your favorite faculty member, or President Yao so we can make sure these experiences continue to be available to those students who follow you.

We continue to build this University, hoping to realize the dream of its founders. Framed by our Mission Pillars. Innovative. Transformative. International. As the class of 2023, you are part of this University’s legacy. Please stay involved. Stay connected. And know that we will continue to support all of you as you commence the next chapter of your life.

Thank you.