Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben
There was a book written in 1982 entitled The Kids' Whole Future Catalogue which predicted the kinds of jobs kids in 2012 would be looking for.
It promised a coming era of automatic language translators, cities floating on the ocean and robot teachers. It suggested jobs on the space frontier -like genetic engineers to develop space-sturdy cows, goats, but actors/ actresses for Space Theaters, Chefs for space hotels (specializing in insects).
Remarkably prophetic, it also suggested that travel agents and stockbrokers, would become scarce thanks to the home computer which would allow people to make their own airline reservations and check stock prices.
I am fortunate to be a 1982 graduate of Goucher College - and I when I sat where you are today, I had no clue what the predictions were. Nor what the future held. Frankly, because I was graduating the main thing on my radar, so to speak, was that I was done with papers, labs, frat parties at Johns Hopkins, sharing bathrooms, and late nights of cramming.
And though I knew I was one step closer to my long-time goal of becoming a Navy Chaplain, my sights were so fixed on getting that degree in my hand that that I was a bit oblivious to the world beyond Delaney Valley Road.
Honestly, I couldn't even tell you who spoke at my graduation...though one Baltimore news anchor, Oprah Winfrey, spoke the year before.
I share this with you simply to say, just as the futurists predicted, a lot will go on beyond Exit 27A. And a lot has happened in the last 30 years - some anticipated, some not. [In 1982 the first CD player had just been sold in Japan, actors like Eddie Murphy, Kristie Alley, and Glenn Close, were just making their film debuts. Folks like Andy Roddick , LeAnn Rimes, Kelly Clarkson were only in the first year of their lives. America's armed forces have been engaged in large contingencies like Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan - and in Humanitarian Relief and Disaster Assistance across the globe from Haiti to Pakistan, Sumatra, Japan, Libya. The country has moved up, down, and across of the financial spectrum.]
But when one of you stands on this podium 30 years from now, chances are you will read an article about the somebody somewhere who predicted today what 2042 will look like - and you will note that not only were some of those predictions proven to be wildly off base - and others eerily accurate, but I'm thinking that as you look out at a group of college graduates who are just trying to get past the thought of getting their rooms cleaned up, their cars packed, the first steps of their college days behind them; you will, like me, realize that "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose": the more things change, the more they stay the same.
With the possible exception of Ira Glass, none of us up here will ever be as iconic as Oprah, and you won't remember who spoke on your graduation day - but you will look out on that graduating class and you will remember the passion you felt that day that propelled you through college and out into the world - however big or small it looked that day; you will recall that you were certain that the future (predictable or otherwise) is your ocean; and you will reminisce that you felt - or at least hoped - that you would make a difference; and that the friends you made and the experiences you've shared have been foundational to your success.
Though the world is morphing as quickly as it turns on its axis, and a lot will happen between now and 2042, I pray that 30 years from now you will speak to that class and congratulate them for their success in choosing Goucher as the unchanging foundation for their future.