Suzanne Langelier-Lebeda

Remarks to Graduates May 19, 2019

Good morning President Fox, trustees, Honors Committee, honorees, faculty, staff, students, Class of 2019, and your families and friends. I am honored and humbled to be receiving this prestigious North Country Citation. I am grateful for the nomination and for those whose efforts made this possible. It has been my joy and privilege working with colleagues and friends over time to create visual messages that enhance and promote the quality of life and sense of community in our beautiful north country region.

And Good morning graduates, this is your day! You’ve spent part of the most formative years of your life here at St. Lawrence University, where, I believe you have discovered or realized your unique gift and passion. Here you have been nurtured and challenged by the most caring and capable educators, administrators, staff, alumni and benefactors. You’ve grown into, widened your growing edges and have now grown out of this proud institution. It will remain in your heart always as the place where you spent some of the best years of your life. You are now ready to make your mark on the world.

I know, as a fine artist and graphic designer, that making your mark comes with responsibilities. They begin with communication, making a connection between your heart and another. Your ideas, goals, and actions can become tangible and lasting works in your name. You now have the powerful ability to move people through your crafted messages.

Will your endeavors be worthy of other peoples’ attention and time? Will they reflect your unique gift, your creativity, your integrity? There are such staggering imbalances in our world, so many hearts and minds targeting you to join and embrace their ideas and goals. So many hearts and minds with opposing messages working to distract you from your core values, to challenge and confront you. How and where will you choose to leave your mark? In our environment, for example, how can you motivate changes in our own lifestyles to honor and respect nature and its cycles of renewal and promise for the next generations? My hope is that you begin each day in awe, choosing your efforts with recognition that we are all interdependent and linked to all living things on our earth, with responsibility, knowing your words, images, movements, and actions can uniquely begin to cause change, a change of heart -- one heart at a time.

As you leave here and step onto the path of your journey, I offer you the words of a fondly remembered friend and St. Lawrence University professor, “Take good care.”