Grisham Speaks at UVa Final Exercises

By: Lindsey Ward Email
By: Lindsey Ward Email

May 20, 2007

Another year, another class, another round of diplomas and proud parents. As the Class of 2007 made their way down Thomas Jefferson’s lawn, many felt they'd come full circle.

“I can seriously not believe that I’m graduating. I was watching graduation from afar, and now I’m actually doing it, which is crazy,” said graduate Jennifer Chu.

Before final exercises began, those attending observed a moment of silence to remember Virginia Tech victims.

The two-hour ceremony full of praise and advice for graduates began with remarks from President John Casteen before best-selling novelist John Grisham took the stage. He promised and delivered a short, but inspirational speech with the top three lessons he's learned since graduating college himself.

“Lesson number one: You cannot plan the rest of your life,” said Grisham.

Sound advice from someone who went to school for tax law, but ended up a novelist on the best-sellers list.

“The idea of writing a book had never crossed my mind,” explained Grisham.

Grisham passed on two other lessons to graduates: never believe politicians with an itch to go to war and have the courage to save the environment.

Graduate Mary Simpson and her family enjoyed what Grisham had to say, and they should know a good commencement speech. Simpson is the third in her family to graduate from UVa.

“Those other times I had to sit through, and I couldn't hear, and I couldn't see, but this time I had a front row experience, and it was very special,” said Simpson

As this special day ended with the real world right around the corner, some of the graduates already have plans for the future.

“I'm actually going to pharmacy school in the fall,” said Chu.

After Sunday's final exercises, they have enough advice to guide them down the road.

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