Now a career diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, David Turnbull (Honors Scholar, BA in French, Spanish and International Studies '05) addressed the following remarks to the graduating class of 2016.
"Language is a gift. It helps us understand how to build bridges with other people. It’s something we should feel privileged to study. Because the relationships and opportunities you can create with language are truly unique.
You have the skill set. You have learned it here at UB. I know the faculty here, and I know the quality education. Whether you studied Italian poetry, French grammar, or Spanish literature, or anything in between, somewhere along the way you’ve learned to focus, to use your fear, and to be flexible. Your teachers have corrected your pronunciation – especially if you had Prof. Ludwig. They’ve given you insights and a path to understand different parts of the world and its peoples. Wherever you go, and whatever you do, remember them, and remember your school.
And just this final word of encouragement. Use your language skills to serve. Serve your communities by teaching, serve other communities through work with non-profits, or serve your country. The world needs people who can build bridges, who can relate to one another. And even though the distance between is shrinking everyday with advent of new technologies, there is yet to be a substitute for person-to-person communication." – David Turnbull