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Daily Newscasts

Governor Says New Grads Must "Dream Big"

May 25, 2007

It's the season of caps and gowns on college campuses around the nation, and for Washington's Governor Chris Gregoire, it's a busy time of year. Not only did her youngest daughter matriculate in mid-May, but the governor is delivering five commencement speeches before June. Her address compares today's world to that which existed during her own graduation in 1969, when the big issue on students' minds was the unpopular war in Vietnam.

"We were at war; there were some tough times going on. But, I tell them that all of the talk we hear now about problems and 'we can't accomplish things,' I heard back then in our generation. The difference is, we refused to accept that attitude, and I'm asking them to refuse to accept it."

Gregoire says graduation crowds are tough audiences, because they're large and span several generations. But, she admits meeting and talking with students gives her absolute faith in Washington's young people and its future.

"If they work hard, they've got a good moral compass, and they get a quality education, there's virtually nothing they can't do. So, I ask them to dream big, and go out there and make it happen."

The Governor remembers, as a new graduate of the University of Washington, her hero was President Kennedy, whose words inspired her public service career. This spring, Gregoire created a state government council with a 10-year plan to improve education, and signed the first state law in the nation to help lower college textbook prices.

Approximately 400,000 people in Washington are college students, and Governor Chris Gregoire is one of the most sought out commencement speakers. The governor's remaining commencement addresses will take place at Everett Community College, June 8; Central Washington University, Ellensburg, June 9; and Lower Columbia College, Longview, June 15.

Chris Thomas/Eric Mack, Public News Service - WA