ICYMI: Murkowski Delivers Speech to Alaska Graduates

“Expect the Unexpected”

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changing graduation ceremonies across the state, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski delivered a commencement speech in honor of Alaska’s Class of 2020, which was livestreamed on her Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Commencement Speech Snip 1

Click here to watch the video.

Speech Excerpts:

  • “Who could have imagined that your graduation ceremony would be virtual or maybe that you wouldn’t have one at all. That most of your last semester in school would not be spent with your classmates, but at home online. That your families, your teachers, administrators, and yes, even your senators would be looking outside the box to find ways to make sure that in these unprecedented times your accomplishments would be recognized and celebrated.”
  • “Rather than be overwhelmed and daunted by what lies ahead, I will encourage you to embrace this as a challenge. Look at the unknown as an opportunity to grow in a way that you couldn’t imagine. In other words—expect the unexpected.”
  • “Because one thing is certain in life—and that’s change is going to happen. Unexpected situations are going to come your way. So, you have a choice to make. Let them knock you down or lean in, keep standing, and grow.”
  • “People also can grow stronger by facing and overcoming the trials in life.  This time that we’re in is a challenge for you and a challenge for us all. But being prepared to handle a situation when ‘things aren’t going your way’ will help you emerge on the other side that much stronger.”
  • “As young people you have an adaptability, a flexibility that older people like me—stuck in my ways and my way of doing things—may lack. Take advantage of that. Many of you have an ease and a comfort with the technology that is allowing us to stay connected in a COVID world. It’s your turn to be the teachers. I’m confident in your ability to lead us.”
  • “Leading up to this point today, I know you have already grown so much. What you have accomplished is significant. And you deserve to be very, very proud. I am proud of you all, as your parents, friends, and your communities are as they recognize you.”
  • “Graduates, the knowledge you have gained, the skills you have mastered, and the personal qualities you have developed are truly a cause for celebration. Whether you are graduating from high school, college, or a job training program, this is a significant milestone.” 
  • “You have learned that every new day can bring the unexpected.  It’s what you decide to do with it that matters.”
  • “I encourage you to think of the end of this school year as the beginning of new adventure. An adventure filled with twists and turns, detours, and the unexpected. Embark on this new journey with optimism and strength.”