Investiture Address: Scott Mitchell Th'16

June 11, 2016

Welcome fellow graduates, family and friends!

It’s been said that we Thayerites are a different species from the rest of campus. The reasoning is, we do such a good job at temporally and spatially isolating ourselves in Thayer that evolution is just doing its thing. It’s true, we have a little niche here. Most of us have converted to being fully nocturnal, and if that wasn't enough, we have selected a nesting place that is sheltered by the giant white pillars of Tuck to the North, an ancient cemetery to the South and East, and an expansive river to the West, (that I hear people can only cross naked). I mean, what other species gets all riled up and excited about using dry spaghetti and a piece of string to put a marshmallow out of reach? Everyone else is trying to figure out how to boil the spaghetti and eat the marshmallow.

The “different species hypothesis” is further supported by the fact that we share a common ancestor, Thayer School itself.

Whether you are an MEM, a dual degree, BE, MS, or a PhD, I am sure you’ve come to recognize Thayer as a surrogate mother. She has clothed us in Thayer gear, and generated activities to invite our friends to, like Professor Diamond's walking beast jousting competitions. She has nourished us with free food, good enough to impress the board of overseers, although, we have had to forage from the vending machines on occasion. She has plastered our photos all over the place like refrigerator magnets highlighting our every accomplishment. She has even tucked us in for naps on the atrium couches or, on the rare occasion, in class.

Nurtured as a different species, we have acquired unique abilities.

The qualities that we have developed here have set us apart as capable leaders, and passionate doers. We have not only gained skills, but also the confidence to put those skills to good use and make an impact on areas that matter to us and our communities. Without the incredible network of support and guidance at Thayer, I would have never thought it possible for my class project to impact the lives of children suffering from cerebral palsy a world away, or for my peers to develop autonomous sailboats and radio-controlled airplanes capable of delivering medical supplies to people in remote regions. With such experiences, and many more in our repertoire, I am confident that we are finally prepared to serve as the most capable and faithful, for the most responsible positions and the most difficult service.

Now it’s our turn to spread our wings and leave the lovely little nest we have called home for so long, but don't worry, unlike our actual mothers, Thayer won’t suffer from empty nest syndrome. With the incoming classes, Thayer will have new students to keep her halls resounding with chatter and the 3D mice in cad lab whirling till the wee hours of the morning.

Congratulations Thayer Class of 2016! We’re about to be released into the wild!