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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m thrilled to be addressing you all, the distinguished graduates of UIC’s Class of 2018, and our supportive parents and friends. I would like to express my sincere thanks to the professors, mentors, and faculty staff at UIC for all their help and dedication, and also to our dear families and friends who have supported and encouraged us along this journey. All of you have contributed in your own way to this very special event.

Here at UIC, we students have worked very closely together but still have managed to maintain individual and distinct personalities. At times, I worked together with others to find solutions to various problems; but at other times, I’ve been inspired and impressed by the imaginations of those around me. Although we have said farewell to each other many times before, this is the last time that we will say goodbye at UIC as we disperse to make our own way in the world. When I think about what has been most important to me over the past four years, it was not just about staying in the library and being submerged in books, or racking my brains to ensure that we had the best group projects, or working overnight in the laboratory to finish experiments; it was also about the priceless and unforgettable interactions with my classmates that helped to define who I am today. My thoughts return inevitably to the day I moved into UIC four years ago. None of us had any idea who we were to meet, but those whom we met for the first time are now sitting next to us, smiling at us, and hopefully will always wish us well for the rest of our lives.

If you look around, you will see your families, or if they have not been able to attend this ceremony, you will feel surrounded by their love. To get to this stage in our lives has taken a lot of determination and dedication, but compared to how our parents have worked, and what they have sacrificed for us, our achievements feel somewhat inadequate. Our parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, and all other family members have unconditionally given us their moral support, and stood by us at difficult times. I can look back to times when I was reluctant to communicate with my parents for various reasons, which I now realize had hurt them, and I truly regret. Your parents, trust me, are extremely proud of you and are very happy to be by your side today.

Finally, I wish you well for the future. I hope you will all pursue your dreams for the future when you leave the campus; but please, wherever you end up, let’s remember to return to UIC someday, to reminisce about the unforgettable experiences we had here.

I wish you all the very best as we go our separate ways, and please always be true to yourself. Thank you for your attention!