We Are All Webster: Building community from many identities, owning our biases, infusing diversity with inclusion | Webster University

December Toast: A Celebration of Mid-Year Graduates


Friday, December 18, 2015
December Toast, Community Music School, Webster Groves Campus

Well graduates, it’s so nice to have you here at this 4th annual December Toast. This past year has been quite a year – for Both Webster and for you.

  • You see this is a year of transition and new chapters.
  • For Webster, we have just completed an entire year of celebrating our Centennial and I hope you were able to attend some of our many events as we celebrated Webster’s 100th Anniversary. 100 years of serving students. That’s quite an accomplishment.
  • 1st year’s class of 1919
  • Graduating this year – close to 6,000
  • We have taken this past year to expand our University’s reach, connect with individuals and communities around the world, and bring awareness of Webster’s long-standing vision and mission.
  • We have built a foundation for our next century with renewed energy and distinction as a truly global institution – dedicated to the success of our students.
  • And you, you have just accomplished a monumental task – obtaining your degree from Webster University.
  • You, too, have just built a foundation that will launch your life and your career in ways that only you can dream and realize.
  • So what will our collective future hold? Webster’s future holds the promise that you, our graduates, take into the world. You are Webster University’s voice. You are our future. You carry with you our core values of lifelong learning, respect for diversity and inclusion, and a commitment to global citizenship and strengthening not only your life – but the lives of those around you. Your family. Your colleagues. Your friends. Your communities.
  • In these times, it is good for us to remember that the path to a more equitable society is never walked alone – and indeed, the walk is never complete. We must embrace the diversity of the human community – truly welcome and include – living our lives as evidence that our diversity is our strength.
  • This is what our world most needs now
  • You’ve just watched some of our students from around the world, undergraduate and graduate, talk about what being a global citizen means to them. They were here as part of our Centennial celebration in the first Global Student Leadership Summit to be held on this campus.
  • In their own ways, they each express the broader, more global perspective gained here at Webster.
  • Each of us brings our own perspective to Webster and with this community – forms a better future for ourselves and our world.
  • We all know that many of our graduates have family, friends and supporters who encourage – who inspire – who stand beside you when you’ve needed support.
  • At this time, I’d like to ask: Will everyone who is here tonight as a guest of a graduate please stand up and let us thank and recognize you? Please, stand and let us see you. It is a great gift you have provided, supporting these graduates as they pursue their dreams. From all of us at Webster, we thank you.
  • As a Webster graduate, you are the success that defines our future. By earning your degree here, you are joining a worldwide community of more than 176,000 alumni from many walks of life, who studied at campuses around the world – from Austria to Thailand, from San Antonio to Charleston, and of course online.
  • I know our graduates are disbursed throughout the hall tonight. I take this moment to ask you all to stand and be recognized. If you are celebrating your Webster degree tonight, please stand and accept our applause.
  • For you, Webster graduates, may you always cherish your heritage, celebrate your accomplishments, and cast your vision to a thriving future – for you, for your family and for the community you call home.  We are counting on you. There are indeed, times to receive and times to give. In the receiving of your degree, you give us at Webster great joy.  Congratulations!

And now, please welcome my partner in leadership, Webster’s provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer, Julian Schuster.