Baldwin City Baker University President Pat Long kept her keynote address short Sunday afternoon, and her message for the 2010 graduates was simple.
The 28th president of Baker University advised the 170 graduates to “look up” and take an occasional break from using today’s technology.
“My message for you is just to take a moment once in a while and breathe,” Long said. “You’re always texting, tweeting and Facebooking, but don’t forget to look around once in a while. That’s my message to you — look up and breathe.”
This year’s graduating class came to Baldwin City and Baker as the same time as Long. In 2006, she became the first woman president of the state’s oldest university. Sunday’s graduates were freshmen during her first year, making this class extra special for her.
“It has been the highest privilege of my life to be your president,” she said. “Class of 2010, I will always remember you. I wish you the best and God bless.”
After the ceremony, Long did admit she was emotional during her address, but said she is happy and proud of her graduates.
“Today was so exciting,” she said. “To see the parents and the students and everything they have achieved in their time here is very exciting. It’s a great day for Baker.
“Every year has been emotional, but these students I’ve seen for four years,” she said. “One of my students just told me, ‘I’m not the same person I was four years ago. Don’t you remember me?’ I said I do remember. Today is a beautiful day and I was so happy we got to do the walk.”
Baker graduates participate in the annual commencement tradition of walking through the campus. Bagpipe players from the Kansas City St. Andrew Pipes and Drums led the processional.
There were 130 graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, located in Baldwin City, and 40 from the School of Nursing in Topeka on Sunday. One of the nursing graduates was Jeremy Wright, a 2006 graduate of Baldwin High School.
“This is a very exciting day,” Wright said “Those four years went by really fast. I had a really good experience here, especially being able to play baseball and (get) a good education.”