Where am I?

Undergraduate Student Speech

The following was given by Isabella Liu during the 2013 Fontbonne University undergraduate student commencement ceremony.

Little Wonders

President Golden, Members of the Board of Trustees, Corporate Council of Regents, Ms. Kerri Morgan, faculty, staff, fellow graduates, and guests,

Good afternoon! Or, as we would say back home, 大家好! I am indeed honored to be standing before you today.

When I took a short study break in the middle of my exams, my iTunes decided to shuffle to the song called “Little Wonders,” from the Disney movie Meet the Robinsons. The lyrics are quite beautiful; imagine the smoky voice of Rob Thomas singing the following words in your head: “It’s the heart that really matters in the end. Our lives are made, in these small hours, these little wonders, these twists and turns of fate. Time falls away, but these small hours, these small hours still remain.”

Apart from being a nice study break, these words echo my own experience at Fontbonne, and they echo the message I wish to give you today. We have all experienced these “little wonders”- they are just teachable moments that can be big and profound, like winning an athletic award, nailing that interview for a position you’ve dreamed of, your first kiss under that tree in Forest Park, or these little wonders can also be small and subtle, like holding your classmate’s hand on the way to an exam, the way your friend from Chile always asks you “Why?” or the kind way Mr. George in the Ryan Dining Hall, asks you “How you doing? All right, baby” after a rough practice.  

These moments make your time at Fontbonne memorable-some keep you going, and some can drag you down. I’ve come to accept that we will continue having little wonders in our lives after graduation, and that the road ahead still is very long.  But all those moments, those small hours, those twists and turns of fate- have molded you into the person you are today…At Fontbonne, through the people who have supported and helped me, I’ve learned that the smallest act of kindness can make the biggest impact.

And this, my friends, this, is what I will remember about this institution; never, in my life, have I had such a concentrated testimonial to the continued existence of human graciousness in this world. You graduate as both accomplished students and global citizens, with the practical knowledge of embodying kindness, warmth and dignity towards others. You have learned to combine intellectual and analytical acumen with exemplary humility and generosity. You know of the immense power you hold because you have made it to this day, and you can swell with pride to those who are here and say that you finally did it!

And so, my fellow graduates… whether you are just beginning your professional lives, or you have returned to school to complete your degree, recall that the most important part of my message is that it’s the heart that matters most, and that your time at Fontbonne has not only expanded your mind, but expanded your hearts. Remember those who helped you because ultimately, they taught you that you can change the wrongs in the world, and keep the rights going. I have full confidence that not only do you graduate having you built your knowledge, but also the satisfaction of knowing who you are and what you’re capable of. I am so proud, beyond proud, to be standing before you today. Today, it is your day. So…  

Let it slide,
Let your troubles fall behind you
Go out and shine
Until you feel it all around you
Let it in,
Let your clarity define you,
You’ll see then,
It's the heart that really matters in the ends

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders,
These twists & turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours,
These small hours still remain

Thank you for listening, and congratulations on your achievements!