Mark White '11 Speech - 51st Annual President's Dinner
June 03, 2011
Let me begin first by saying Thank You. I would not be where I am today if not for Stonehill, and therefore I would not be where I am today if not for you. Your support of the Stonehill community has impacted countless students such as I and on their behalf, THANK YOU.
Tonight is a night that we reflect on transformation, in particular the physical transformation here at Stonehill. While my time here has been relatively short, I have witnessed significant change on this campus. Whether it was the Shields Science Center, New Hall (my residence this past year), Merkert Tracy Hall, or any one of the numerous other improvements, there has been a lot of transformation in the past few years on campus. However, the buildings haven't been the only things that have changed over the past few years.
I'd now like to share a bit of my personal transformation while at Stonehill, ironically, one that occurred far from this beautiful 375 acre campus. I transferred to Stonehill my sophomore year and found the transition to be difficult at first. It took me some to adjust to the new classes and new environment. I joined the Track & Field team and loved it but I was still struggling to find a home. It wasn't until I went to New Orleans as a part of the HOPE program that I was able to find myself. (Little background info) For those of you who aren't familiar with the HOPE program, it is the alternative spring break program here on campus that sends students to do service all over the world.
My experience with HOPE was much more than a service trip. My experience in New Orleans opened my eyes to true perseverance and southern hospitality. It also propelled me to become more involved in student life as I got involved with Student Government and had the privilege of serving my class as Vice President this past year, I became more involved in Campus ministry programs (including retreats), and it lead me to apply and be accepted as a HOPE student leader.
My junior year, I traveled to Florida as a student leader and discovered the difference a group of people can make when they work together and witnessed how a community can come together in times of adversity. It was in Nicaragua for my Senior year HOPE trip that I had the most amazing experience of my life thus far. It was my first time out of the country and the experience shattered my perspective on world. I was a witness to the worst material poverty a human can endure, yet the greatest amount of faith and love a human can hold. I even had the pleasure of digging a latreen with the Provost, whose presence as a staff leader served as yet another example of the commitment Stonehill has to its students, even the highest levels.
The HOPE program has given me a new perspective on the world, lifelong friendships, self-confidence, and has helped me discover how I want to live my life. I do not know where the road will lead me, but I do know that I will continue to incorporate the service of others in my daily life. As the end to my Stonehill journey has come, I could not be any more thankful for what the Stonehill community has done for me. I leave Stonehill ready for my graduate studies in Accounting at Northeastern and also for the start of my career in public accounting in January at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Each and every experience here at Stonehill has been special and has a special place in my heart. It is hard to leave this magnificent place, but I have comfort in knowing these experiences are ones that will last a lifetime.
Lastly It is thanks to you that I was afforded the opportunity to have these amazing experiences, ones that enabled me to find myself, my career path, but most importantly helped me to discover how I want to live my life. It is my hope, through your continued support, that current and future Stonehill students will share a similar experience of transformation through the vast opportunities this institution offers.
Thank you and God Bless.
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