Campus & Community

Commencement speaker challenges graduates to face world problems

Graduate Commencement speaker Peter Groff (JD ’92) told a crowd of thousands June 6 at Magness Arena that the 2008 graduates were at a watershed moment in America’s history.

“You will take your graduate degrees into a world with incredible challenges, issues and situations,” said Groff, president of the Colorado Senate and executive director of DU’s Center for African-American Policy.

Groff outlined the challenges facing this generation: a tarnished world image, low student test scores and a trillion-dollar war, to name a few.

“As individuals with advanced degrees your responsibility is greater, your interpretations more needed, your involvement critical,” he said.

While the somber topic set the tone for most of the speech, Groff did pause to congratulate his wife, Rev. Regina Groff, who earned a PhD in education.

“Let me take one moment of spousal privilege and say thank you,” he said. “I am proud of you, and I love you.”

The crowed cheered as Groff congratulated his wife on her achievement.

Another spouse, Melinda Tyler, stood as she watched her husband, Tracy Tyler, graduate with a Master of Laws in Taxation.

“It has been a tremendous journey,” she said. “He has met so many friends and grown so much.”

In addition to honoring his wife, Groff poked fun at himself for receiving an Honorary Doctor of Public Service from the University.

“I wonder if they checked my credentials,” he joked, as Chancellor Robert Coombe laughed in the background.

Groff ended his speech by challenging the nearly 1,500 graduates to reshape America’s future.

“It is now our moment, a watershed moment, and it may only take one interpretation,” Groff said. “And, it could be yours. Don’t underestimate your interpretation, and don’t underestimate what it could mean for tomorrow.”

Watch the Commencement ceremony video.

Read about Groff being chosen to serve on the Democratic Party’s platform committee.

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