Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor that I present to you the class of 1999. We are a class that was caught somewhere between the way things always were and the way things always will be. We represent a generation of doers. With grandparents who reminded us of a time of innocence, and parents who reminded us of a time of change and revolution, we have been left with older siblings and friends who made up generation X, only so we could take all that we have seen and heard and make our own place in the world. Our lives have been formed by experiences in a transition period. While we once changed our vinyl records on turntable players, we were also the first ones to run to the store for compact discs. While we once wrote letters to friends far away, we now have made the world into a very small place as we check e-mail on a daily basis with friends around the globe. We used to go to roller rinks; now we take our in-line skates everywhere we go. We grew up fast as we watched the Challenger explode in our elementary school classrooms. We feared nuclear war. We also watched the Berlin Wall come down. World peace became more than a slogan, it became a necessity. We thought Star Wars the movie had the most amazing special effects ever to be on the big screen. We remember a time without answering machines, microwave ovens, remote controls and cable, though we can't fathom living without any of them now. We grew up fast as in our teenage years even baseball players went on strike. We became products of the eighties as MTV entered our lives. Prince sang a song about 1999 and it seemed like centuries away. Now, as we sit, about to enter a whole new phase of our lives, the world is at our fingertips. I am confident that we will take it by storm.
We are a class of just under 500 and yet in this small block of twenty-somethings, you will find that together, during our time at Union we have traveled to and studied in every continent of the world. We are a class that has always emphasized tolerance and respect. We have written billions of papers on every topic ranging from the effects of gamma rays to the world according to William Shakespeare. We finished our senior projects and thesis and walked out of a brand new library, facing a campus over two centuries old. Just as we always have, we appropriately leave this campus the way we have lived our lives, somewhere between the past and the future. In our lives we have always walked through marbled buildings lined with ivy and tarnished plaques into modern, corporate-looking environments fully equipped with Internet access in every room. We have always adjusted, and we always will. We enter the real world comforted with the knowledge that we have been in it for quite some time.
Looking around at the microcosm of life that we have been a part of for four years, we turn to the campus which holds more laughter than any place in the world. We will never forget our experiences in the dormitories and classrooms of Union College. And with every memory that enters our minds, a smile instinctually comes across our faces. We jumped from classes, to clubs, to speakers, to parties, and at the end of every day we turned to the people who have made college all that we could have ever wanted it to be. We made new families here and whether we were in a fraternity or not, we all had brothers and sisters at Union College.
Never can we forget meeting our first roommate, orientation, the dreaded Gen-ed courses, Frisbee on west beach, blacklights in the bedrooms, RA's, choosing a major, coming back from winter break and knowing that Union was home, re-choosing a major, snow storms, Chet's, painting the idol, Jackson's Garden, Gepettos, cheering on the hockey team, walking through construction, Springfest, water buffalo, party in the garden, wine and cheese, senior week, and the feeling in our stomachs when we picked up our caps and gowns. Where did these four years go? Somewhere in the laughter and late-night studying, we lost all track of time, and now here we are.
A class of doers. We are the activists of the future and we are well prepared for whatever the world throws to us. On the brink of the millennium, we anticipate greatness. Every door is open to us now. As we walk through each of them, we will never forget to look back. Union will always be a home to us. The lessons and laughs that we have had here have been so loud that they will echo in our minds for the rest of our lives. We are prepared now. We are ready. And if we should ever forget that, the family that we have adopted here will remind us. The little college on the hill has held us in its arms for four short years and given us the knowledge and drive to become the leaders of tomorrow. We look around now and are flooded with a different memory for every building, every field, every professor, every hallway, and every fellow student that we see. Tlese are the times that we will hold onto as we embrace the world tomorrow and each day that follows. Our time here has been rich and it has been priceless. As we approach the millennium, I cannot think of a more intelligent, enthusiastic, caring and exciting group of individuals that I would want to place my confidence in. And I cannot think of a better teacher for the leaders of tomorrow than Union College. It is with these memories and experiences that we embrace the world. Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great honor that I present to you the class of 1999.