SNHU: 'Find the thing you love'

Sunday, May 17, 2009
New Hampshire Union Leader

New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

MANCHESTER – Southern New Hampshire University graduates were told they need to learn the fine art of asking the right question, instead of carefully preparing the right answer at the college's commencement ceremony at the Verizon Wireless Arena yesterday.

Commencement speaker Dr. Clayton Christensen, the Robert and Jane Cizik Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, said today's students "are not schooled in the art of learning to ask the right question, like 'What is the purpose of my life?'"

Christensen, who is also an SNHU trustee, was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the two-hour ceremony attended by approximately 1,300 of the 2,400 graduates.

Eemaan Rameez, who received a Masters degree in business, gave the student address, telling her colleagues "All of us have a story to tell, it may be a page, or volumes of books. Each of our stories is unique and ours to share."

From the Maldives, Rameez was home when the 2003 tsunami destroyed much of her island. She said "In the midst of this chaos, I was comforted by the global family I had created here at SNHU. You were among the first to reach out. You made me realize that everything global is really local."

Paul LeBlanc, university president, told students while their achievements are worth celebrating, they had only to look to the three people receiving honorary degrees, New England poet Wesley McNair, businessman and philanthropist Robert J. Finlay, and Christensen, to know there is always "more to do, more to learn and more to achieve."

While the three have achieved much, he said, McNair continues to write poems, Finlay has more good ideas to explore and charity causes to support, and Christensen more books to write.

LeBlanc urged students "to find the thing you love to do and do it for others and not for yourself."

Christensen, who LeBlanc described as one of the country's most influential thinkers, spoke about the need for a religious tradition for democracy and capitalism to thrive.

He said a Chinese scholar first gave him that insight when he asked him the right question, which was what surprised him after spending time in this country.

Click below to view a slideshow of Union Leader photographer Cheryl Senter's images from the SNHU graduation.


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