The Value of Values

Dean Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr. speaks at the Commencement Ceremony at Davies Symphony Hall.
Dean Patrick J. Ferrillo, Jr. speaks at the Commencement Ceremony at Davies Symphony Hall.

Congratulations to our graduates from the Class of 2010 and all of their families, friends and other supporters. The school hosted a whirlwind weekend of graduation-related activities including the Alumni/Graduate Banquet, Thanks a Bunch Brunch, OKU Convocation and a Commencement Ceremony held this year at Davies Symphony Hall.

It was a pleasure to meet so many proud family members from around the country who were in town to celebrate. Our Pacific Dugoni family grew a little bit larger as we got to socialize with parents, siblings, spouses, partners and others throughout the weekend.

From my vantage point up on stage during the Commencement Ceremony, it was heartwarming to see all of the students seated together out in front as a group. The DDS, IDS, Dental Hygiene, graduate program students and residents don’t often have the chance to gather in one big group, except for at graduation, so this was a truly special time. We are so proud of every one of you.

In my commencement remarks, I discussed the importance of staying true to your values. Whether instilled by your parents and other key influencers in your life, or personally developed from your own experiences, values will get you through the ups and downs of life. While graduation is certainly a highlight and mark of distinction in your academic life, there will be times on the road of life when you will encounter challenges. Staying true to your values will help get you through these times.

Our school, too, has a set of values we aim to uphold: humanism, innovation, leadership, reflection, stewardship, collaboration and philanthropy. More than just words on a page in our Strategic Plan, they are central to how we operate. Our school community identified these values several years ago after a strategic planning process that involved students, faculty, staff and administration. We take these values seriously. They are helpful guideposts that infuse decisions small and large.

If you haven’t taken some time recently to think about your own values, graduation is the perfect time to reflect. Exams are done, the busy weekend is over, and your daily schedule is perhaps a bit more flexible for a few days or weeks. So graduates, I charge you to pick and develop your own values and hold yourself to them. They’ll help you stay true to yourself, no matter what comes your way in life.

Best wishes to each of our graduates as you embark on the next step in your journey.