The following remarks were provided by Dr. Sarah E. Merranko, president of the Faculty Senate at the College of Southern Maryland, on Jan. 16, during the 2020 winter commencement ceremonies at the La Plata Campus.
At commencement speeches, graduates usually hear a lot of advice. Often it involves some version of “Dare to Dream” or “Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams.” And so on and so on like an endless hallway filled with motivational posters. I have a different idea to put before you today.
A long time ago in a college commencement speech far, far away a very talented and successful woman, Shonda Rimes, once said, “Ditch the dream and be a doer not a dreamer.” For those who may not watch TV, Shonda Rhimes is an American television writer, producer and director. She was also the first African American woman to create and executive produce a Top 10 network series. So it seems clear that she is a strong believer in doing over dreaming.
I myself interpret her statement to mean is that while dreams are wonderful, in fact, at times they may sustain us and give us comfort when we have nothing else, they can also prevent us from doing the actual work that is necessary. We all know those people who say—one day I’ll start that business—or solve that problem—or build that building, write that book, earn that degree and so on. True success is achieved by making dreams come to pass. The people who achieve the loftiest goals, the biggest successes and realize the greatest achievements are the people who wake up, take action and make a plan while others merely dream. Our world needs new ideas and bold leaders who can come up with them. We need dreamers, but dreamers who are dedicated to getting things done.
Congratulations to each and every graduate here today. You’ve accomplished great things and are on the verge of accomplishing so much more.
Now more than ever we need you. You’ve completed your education; you have the tools you need. You have all dared to dream by starting your journey to a degree at CSM, and making sure your dream became a reality here today. Now, it’s time to make your dreams a reality.
On behalf of the faculty at CSM, we wish you the best as you go out into the world and do great things like no one has ever dreamed of before.