Graduation Speeches

2007 Commencement Speech
by Enid Newberg, MA President, Kepler College

The title of this speech is rather audacious and certainly covers a broad territory. But it comes from an article in the Boston Globe written by Anthony Kronman, a professor of law at Yale University. It was an opinion piece written earlier this year entitled “Why are we here?” He was worried about the direction modern colleges are taking. He stated, “In a shift of historic importance, America's colleges and universities have largely abandoned the idea that life's most important question is an appropriate subject for the classroom. In doing so, they have betrayed their students by depriving them of the chance to explore it in an organized way.”

That raises the question of what colleges are for and why should any one go to college?

 

Kepler Graduates’ Influence in Academia
Mark Urban-Lurain PhD

A Commencement Address by Dr. Mark Urban-Lurain

Welcome Kepler students, families, friends, board members and faculty.

It gives me great pleasure, and pride, to be part of this celebration in honor of the Nereids, Kepler’s second graduating class.

As Carol, Dennis and I discussed this evening’s theme – Expanding our Sphere of Influence – one of the images we had was that of ripples on water. The idea that each of you is a ripple in the river that is astrology – and life. Each and every one of you, through your hard work, sweat, tears and perseverance, arrives here today a different person than you were when you started your studies just a few years ago. The flow of your each of lives has been altered in ways you may not yet perceive. And will take you in directions you cannot begin to imagine.

Kepler College: Where We’ve Been

A Commencement Address by Academic Dean J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D.

The last four years have been an adventure: and it would not have been the same without the Lobsters.

Just over thirteen years ago, a meeting was held that launched the effort that became Kepler College. On March 10 th , 2000, the Higher Education Coordinating Board of the State of Washington authorized Kepler’s BA program. The first term began July 20, 2000, and the first symposium began August 18, 2000.

Every student has her or his first day of class at a new school. Every professor has the first day of teaching class. But normally, when a new institution opens, a portion of the faculty will be teaching the same-ol’ - same -ol’; just at a new institution. But not Kepler. Here, we had to invent the curriculum from the bottom up.

Discrimination and Astrology
©2008 J. Lee Lehman

Text of speech:

Since this graduation is being held in the shadow of a US election, it seemed to me that this would be an excellent time to discuss politics – or not!

Back in 1989, the United Astrology Congress was held in New Orleans. Just before the Congress started, there was a press conference, attended in part by the New Orleans Times Picayune. Carol and Rob were there, and I'm sure said great things about I don't remember what. However, in the midst of all the wonderful things said by the astrological representatives, one of the reporters asked a question along the lines of: if what you say is true, then why is astrology ridiculed by so many people, including scientists. It was at that moment that my Mars-Pluto rising stood up, and I made a statement to the effect that, one of the major problems with astrology is that astrologers themselves do not recognize that the status of astrology is a political issue, and that the position of astrologers in our society is completely analogous to the position of gay people before Stonewall.

My statement drew some rather pained looks from some of my esteemed elders. But I, unlike they, knew just how gay New Orleans Mardi Gras could be, so I actually appreciated the irony that the reporters probably understood my statement a little more clearly than some of the astrologers present.

So now, a nodal cycle later, I would like to examine the question: is the astrological community like the gay community before Stonewall, and, if so, what does this mean for the future of astrology?

Kepler College
President’s Address
October 13, 2006

Welcome students, faculty, board of trustees and honored guests to Kepler College’s third commencement ceremonies.Tonight we honor the hard work and dedication of our students. We have three students here on stage tonight and one who is not with us, Johnathan Edwards, who only just completed the last requirements for his AA degree this past week.

Kepler College continues to change and grow into a strong academic institution. Each year since our opening in 2000, we have seen additions or improvements in our academic programs so that we can join the family of accredited colleges. Each year for our first four years, we had a new year added to our BA program. In 2005 we saw the start of our AA program and last year saw the start of our MA program, and this year we complete that program.

Challenging Boundaries

NICK CAMPION

First of all, many congratulations to this year’s graduates for passing an extraordinarily rigorous and demanding course – and thanks to Kepler College’s founders who, in the last century, had an educational vision which is now being fulfilled.

This talk is about challenging boundaries. The boundary I wish to address is that between heaven and earth. What is it, I ask, about the sky, that excites human feelings about deity and soul? Is it, the excited shout of Pierre in Tolstoy’s War and Peace: ‘that’s me up there!’? I read this passage when I was sixteen and have wondered ever since what it means to be ‘me up there’. What does looking at the stars do to our minds? I want to address this problem partly by treading lightly around the views of some of our greatest philosophers.

 

Welcome from Enid Newberg, President

Witches, wizards, and muggles – a warm welcome to our celebration here at what we call Hogwarts West.

Test of speech

Gregory Bateson, an anthropologist, sociologist, and systems thinker, stated that meaning is found in the pattern that connects. In his book Mind and Nature, he states a “pattern may be changed or broken by addition, by repetition, by anything that will force you to a new perception of it, and these changes can never be predicted with absolute certainty because they have not yet happened.”

When you change the pattern that connects, you have learning, not just acquiring new facts. And new learning may take you to unexpected places. This is the goal of higher education and our goal at Kepler College. We follow the liberal studies tradition that gives its students not just new facts and figures, but skills that will sustain them in the future –habits of questioning and reconfiguring old patterns into something new and meaningful.
Reconfiguring patterns is not a comfortable or easy process. But right now, with the sudden and unexpected changes happening day by day, these skills are critical.

And the freedom that this type of education provides is that it gives you choice - Instead of accepting what others say or bowing to the pressures of conformity, you can consciously explore your options, decide what is important and what is not. Life is too short to be trapped by a litany of what other’s think or by your own internal comfort zones. Thank you for being here tonight as our graduates start the next phase of their lives and began to create new patterns for themselves.

Chair of the Board of Trustees

Nico MarchThank you so much Carol .. and welcome to all of you joining us this evening.


The Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu once said: "The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step."
Our Journey began at 2:30am on January 6, 1572 when Johannes Kepler was born.


For those of you not familiar with Johannes Kepler, he was the first man to discover and mathematically define the elliptical property of planetary orbits, known as the heliocentric theory, successfully uniting the theories of Copernicus, Plato and Pythagoras as part of his three laws of planetary motion.


In doing so, he demonstrated the essential value of mathematics in describing the processes of the cosmos, without denying their ancient empirical descriptions.

Page 1 of 2