As we approach the graduation of our 2014 BIC class, last week we paused to celebrate their many accomplishments at the BIC Senior Recognition Banquet. Among those who shared with the graduating class was Dr. Sam Perry, Assistant Professor in BIC. Dr. Perry was gracious enough to allow his remarks to be posted here. Enjoy.
It is funny to stand in front of you all and think that nine years ago I was sitting in a chair listening to closing remarks at my own Senior Recognition Banquet, and I recall thinking in that moment that I was closing a chapter of my life. I suppose that was true in some ways, but in preparing these remarks for you all this evening it occurs to me that your graduation might more aptly be thought of as an epigraph—not to be confused with an epitaph. Often one of the most interesting and telling parts of any writing is the quotation that one finds at the beginning of the piece. So, I think it more fitting to consider your college career an epigraph to all of things that you now find yourself prepared to do: start a job, start an internship, graduate school, a fellowship, or setting off on a different path. You all are poised to do great things.
Rather than talking about one thing coming to an end, I would talk about words that I find particularly meaningful at the outset of things. So, I will offer you a few potential epigraphs that a BIC’er might carry with them into the wild blue yonder beyond the green and gold that you have called home for the past few years.
First, “The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.” - Ludwig van Wittgenstein.
You all have learned languages over your courses of study that have expanded your world. Each of you has earned a degree- you have majored in something or multiple things, you might have picked up a minor or minors along the way, too. I’d suggest that each of your specializations is a fluency in a particular language that you will set about putting to various purposes. This fluency in your area of study means one very important thing- that you have learned how to study a language: physics, biology, history, political science, philosophy, history, social work, etc… academic subjects predicated on solving problems by employing specialized languages. I encourage you to continue learning your languages and expanding the limits of your worlds. As lifelong learners you will expand you language and your world, you will learn new languages and explore new worlds. Continue reading