Jun 6, 2020
Ivanka Trump Commencement Speech Transcript for Class of 2020
Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Donald Trump, gave a graduation speech for the class of 2020 at WSU Tech. Read the commencement speech transcript here.
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Ivanka Trump: (00:00)
Today, I am incredibly honored to address the graduates of WSU Tech. Thank you, President Utash for the kind invitation. It has been a pleasure to work with you over the last several years, and we are grateful for your service on the president’s American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Your leadership is helping Kansas and our nation to pioneer the most innovative and successful workforce training in the world. To the 759 graduates, whom we celebrate today, congratulations. Your journey to this day did not come without challenges, sacrifices, determination, grit, sweat, and likely even a few tears, but you persevered. You proved yourself and all those who ever doubted, that you could do it. You should be proud. This is also a proud day for all the parents, spouses, mentors, teachers, and employers who came alongside of you, believed in you and pushed you to new bounds. We thank them all.
Ivanka Trump: (01:02)
Many of you have worked for this achievement and waited for this day for years. Now, it is finally here and of course it is very different than any of us had ever imagined. So I want to say what I know we are all thinking, I wish we could be together in person. I wish that you could walk across the stage, shake hands and hold your diploma high to cheering crowds. Sometimes it’s easy to think we have to be tough, that we have to keep going and we do, but that doesn’t mean we can’t stop to acknowledge the truth, the hardships and the disappointments that come our way. My heart goes out to you on this day and this time in our history, because they’re very different from what you had envisioned or planned. Yet now more than ever, we remember that changes and hardships do not predict failure.
Ivanka Trump: (01:53)
In fact, they can be the greatest impetus for success. You commence at a moment unlike any other. America and the world are battling a terrible pandemic. Our entire society is engaged in a national endeavor to defeat the virus, protect our fellow citizens and open up America again to rebuild our economy and take care of the safety and wellbeing of our people. You are a wartime graduate. Amidst the uncertainty, your training at WSU Tech has prepared you for exactly this moment. When I came to your campus last fall, I learned your mantra. Building success with your own hands. In this graduating class are men and women who can run an assembly line, build a field hospital, police our communities, respond to emergencies, keep America connected through internet and phones, care for our senior citizens and our most vulnerable patients, use 3D printers to make medical equipment, draw blood to save lives. And so many other essential services.
Ivanka Trump: (02:59)
Over the past three months, we have been reminded of just how crucial American trades are to our citizens safety and our nations security. We have witnessed an extraordinary mobilization of our industries. Hundreds of distilleries are now making hand sanitizer, manufacturers like Honeywell and Hayes, and many others have converted factory floors to produce millions of masks and gowns. The great workers at General Motors, Ford and General Electric are assembling tens of thousands of ventilators. Our scientists and lab technicians have built the most advanced testing in the world. We are bringing home critical supply chains and now are making American medicine here on American soil. Our nation is beating back the virus through the strength and skill, muscle and might of the American worker. We have also seen the importance of job training and re-skilling as workers have quickly transitioned to meet new demands, such as building up the greatest medical arsenal in the world.
Ivanka Trump: (04:06)
History has proven time and time again that in the midst of the most difficult challenges, we have a chance to seize new opportunities and achieve our greatest victories. In 1665 during The Great Plague of London, Sir Isaac Newton was a 23 year old student who was required to leave his college campus. He self isolated in his childhood home from months on end. Despite the grim circumstances, Newton used his time to develop what we now know of as calculus. During World War II, America faced down an evil regime and millions of our citizens banded together and built the strongest military on earth.
Ivanka Trump: (04:47)
Over the course of the war, our workers produced an average of four ships, 174 airplanes and 23.8 million rounds of ammunition every single day. In the Cold War as communism gripped much of the world, American astronauts soared higher and became the first to step foot on the face of the moon. Times of crisis alter the course of history, hardship breeds innovation, new necessities demand new solutions, but in every generation, in each trial we face, the spirit of our people does not change. Americans meet every moment, overcome every challenge and answer every crisis with the will to succeed.
Ivanka Trump: (05:34)
We pioneer new frontiers and reach new heights, never before imagined. So today, as you begin a new chapter, I want to pass along three pieces of advice that I found helpful in my own life, especially during this time of national trial. First, as we all addressed to the social distancing practices, a rabbi recently gave his congregation a new call to action that I think is a great challenge for us all. He said, “Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other should the need arise.” Imagine the happiness and joy we could bring to so many lonely people, if we all practice these simple acts of kindness.
Ivanka Trump: (06:31)
Second, I invite you to join me in making at least one COVID resolution. We could all form at least one new habit or abandon an old destructive one to better appreciate the blessings of work life, family, and faith. A recent article written by Charles Eisenstein explained this period in time this way. He wrote, COVID-19 is like a rehab innervation that breaks the addictive hold of normality. When the crisis subsides, we might have occasion to ask whether we want to return to normal, or whether there may be something we’ve seen during this break in the routines that we want to bring into the future. This is a great challenge. Even if the resolution is seemingly small, it could transform something in our lives. Some families have resolved to continue eating dinner together. At least several times a week. People are using this time to acquire new skills through online platforms and want to continue to advance career certifications.
Ivanka Trump: (07:33)
Many Americans are spending more time in prayer and meditation and want to keep growing in their faith. Whatever your goal is, this is a unique time for each of us to make a change that we had perhaps long delayed and to grow in some way. Finally, right now I know the economic uncertainty is real and it’s hard on many of you and your families. Your own blueprint for your future is likely changing due to the pandemic. But I am confident that even if your path is different from the one you imagined, ultimately it can be better than we could ever planned. In my own life, I found that my greatest personal growth has arisen from times of discomfort and uncertainty, that one can only really appreciate in hindsight.
Ivanka Trump: (08:20)
Joseph Campbell, a philosopher who also helped inspire the creation of Star Wars, once said, “The achievement of the hero is one that he is ready for, it’s really a manifestation of his character. The landscape and conditions of the environment match the readiness of the hero. The adventure that he is ready for is the one that he gets.” Throughout our history, brave men and women have faced daunting challenges and they have embraced the adventure. America’s fate is never dictated by fear. Our future is written by the love and the courage of our citizens. No person will be unchanged from living through this present hardship, but I’m confident that the bonds between us will be stronger or admiration for each other will be deeper. Our gratitude for the gift of life will be ever new and our resolve to build an even brighter future will be greater than ever before. Thank you. Good luck. And God bless.