By Elizabeth Sias
“Here in this room sits the next generation of health care professionals, of artists, of educators, of business leaders and tech entrepreneurs that will carry the torch that lights the road to renewed prosperity for our country.”
Those were the words of U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar as she addressed the 2011 graduates of the Cambridge campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College.
During the commencement ceremony Friday, May 13, at the Cambridge Armed Forces Reserve and Community Center, Klobuchar spoke about the essential role community and technical colleges have in the challenge of helping America compete and succeed in the global economy.
“We have to be a country where people work on things that are meaningful or we make things again or we export to the world,” she said. “That’s what you’re going to be called on to do. We need more students to get the kinds of degrees that you’re getting.”
Highlighting the importance of community and technical colleges, she added that the two-year college system will be a part of the solution in preparing students for high-tech positions that do not require a Ph.D. or a four-year college degree, but nonetheless demand specialized training and experience.
Klobuchar, along with the faculty and staff of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, congratulated hundreds of graduates as they walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, with degrees ranging from nursing to business administration.
Also addressing the graduates were student speakers Cory Lundeen and Kirsten Kennedy, along with former NFL Senior Director of Officiating Jerry Seeman.
Lundeen told his fellow students about the importance of stepping outside comfort zones to have new experiences and meet new people, while Kennedy noted three rules to live by.
“Live a unique life, never apologize for who you are and never settle,” she said.
Seeman explained five points to “winning the game of life” are set your goals, work hard, face adversity with a positive attitude, take time and live life to the fullest.
“You are winners here this evening,” he said. “Nobody can take away your education.”
Klobuchar congratulated the graduates, applauding them for becoming part of the next generation of leaders who will give America the “extra edge” when competing in the global economy.
“We know you have the imagination and the courage to go ahead and be there for all of us,” she said. “We are placing the world gently in your hands and telling you we need you, and we know you’re not going to fail.”