Commencement 2012: Text of Steve Karmen’s speech

President Harvey Stenger greets Steve Karmen following the composer's moving Commencement address on May 20. Photo by Jonathan Cohen

The text of composer Steve Karmen’s Commencement address, “Something That I Love,” delivered at the Professional Schools Ceremony at the Events Center on May 20. Karmen, who received an honorary degree at the ceremony, was given a standing ovation following the address.

First, my sincerest thanks to President Stenger, and to the Board of Trustees of Binghamton University and to Dr. Kim Jaussi [his nominator] for this great honor.

This is really a big deal for me. The last time I received a diploma was in 1954, on the day I graduated from the Bronx High School of Science. That was 58 years ago. (Don’t do the math; I checked it.)

Most importantly, I wish to congratulate all the graduates today, because I know that this is a really big deal for you, too. I have watched – from a distance – the time and great sustained effort that it takes to achieve a college diploma, and I hope each of you is enjoying a huge sense of pride in your accomplishment. You should: You’ve earned it!

And your parents have earned it, too; and today, not only are they applauding you, they are finally breathing a welcome sigh of relief – temporary as it will be – that, at least, this part of your struggle is behind you.

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