Sunday, May 31, 2009
Good evening. And welcome to all of our parents and friends who join us tonight to celebrate this momentous occasion.
I’m extremely proud to be standing before you as your Academic Dean, one last time before you leave our institution to make your mark on the world.
Never in my 20 years in academia have I felt so proud, so directly connected and so hopeful for the success of each and every one of you.
Two years ago – which feels like both an eternity and an instant – 7 faculty and I sat together in a dimly-lit room all summer (along with the registrar, because you know, you always need a registrar) - we debated, wrestled, and agonized over a curriculum which would change the face of Media Arts education in the 21st century.
You, our inaugural graduates, are literally that new face. And we are all very proud of you.
It took a lot of courage to commit to our idea - for some of you that commitment occurred when there were less than studs and drywall hanging – mere spray paint on the floor!
In September 2007, you arrived, wide-eyed and hopeful that you had finally found the place that could help you realize your dreams.
The place where you finally fit.
Where others spoke your language.
As you now know, this education is intense, immersive, high-speed, and perhaps above all, flexible.
I’d like you to take a moment and think back to the person you were in September of 2007 – as you walked through our doors, the inaugural class of Flashpoint Academy.
Consider how you felt, what your dreams were, where you imagined yourself to be by this point in time.
I’m certain you are some of what you thought you would be, and lots of things you couldn’t even consider at that point in time.
Two years ago you placed your trust in us. Today, this evening, it is time to place that trust in yourselves. Trust that you know what it is you need to – to find your own individual success in the world.
We’ve basically taught you everything we possibly can – packed it into a mere 18 months, 320 days. I could reiterate the FPS system, remind you of the ten qualities of any successful digital professional, but the truth is, by now, you’ve internalized it. You embody innovation. You hold yourself accountable to no one but yourself – and that should make you - and it - the highest standard.
Take what you’ve learned from us out into the world and seed the industry with your work ethic, your enthusiasm, your accountability, teach others about communication and collaboration. Because believe me, the world needs it.
See, that’s part of the deal of being a FP graduate – that’s the part we didn’t tell you about when you signed on two years ago –
It’s now your turn – to take it out into the world – to teach others.
You will work alongside other people who haven’t learned these basic tenets of being a 21st century digital professional.
You will work alongside others whose lack of enthusiasm will threaten your success.
Others will take note of how you are different – and they may not always like it.
So it’s up to you – to be the leaders - to show them how and why this approach is better - vital even – to any great success.
We’ve taught you about the 10 Flashpoint Professional Standards. But what most people don’t know is that there are 2 more – there are actually 12.
The final two are patience. And impatience.
As you go out into the world, take with you a good measure of both.
Be patient in your interactions with others – in other words, listen to them –
they undoubtedly have something to tell you that you don’t already know.
But be impatient with yourself and your goals – I call it patience with an engine whirring underneath.
This makes you the kind of professional others want to work with – they know you’ll listen to ideas, and yet hold yourself to such a high standard that the work you produce will be of indisputable quality.
Patience with an engine whirring underneath.
There has been a tremendous amount of sacrifice - and a tremendous amount of hope - poured into this evening.
I’d like to take a moment to acknowledge those original 7 faculty members, 1 registrar and 1 Dean of Students: (in alphabetical order)
I’d like to thank all of our faculty for their contributions – toward strengthening the FP team. They saw our enthusiasm, your enthusiasm, and signed on for the ride.
And of course the staff, without whom nothing would stay organized, or run smoothly – their collective efforts are evidenced by this terrific ceremony.
Finally, I would like the graduates to acknowledge and thank their parents and friends who are here tonight, who have supported you not only this evening, but greatly over the past two years.
To our inaugural class of graduates, I thank you for your courage, for your risk-taking, for your own perseverance in making it to this momentous day.
Go forward and make us proud. Better yet, make yourself proud. For that is the best metric.
Good luck and Godspeed. We are all here, rooting for you.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
GRADUATION SPEECH BY PRESIDENT/CEO HOWARD TULLMAN
It’s an honor and a privilege to stand here tonight. We’ve all come a long way to reach this momentous time.
It’s been quite a journey, but none of us would give back even a single day because each and every one has been filled with the joy, excitement and challenges of building a special place - for a new kind of education - in an environment unlike any other in the country.
But all the tools, all the techniques, all the tricks of the trade and all the technology wouldn’t mean a thing if the end products – our graduates – didn’t turn out to be special and eventually to become some of the future leaders of the digital revolution.
And that’s why we’re all so proud today because, working hard and working together, we did it.
You are some of the most creative, talented, hard-working, responsible and nicest people we know. And your futures couldn’t be brighter.
But, more importantly, just as we hoped and expected, you’ve all changed and been changed for the better. I think your families see that as well. You’re Flashpoint people now and that actually means quite a bit. Let me explain.
In any room, in any situation, in any crisis or emergency – there are always the “Go To” guys or girls. The ones people turn to, the ones they count on in the crunch, the ones you’d bet the ranch on.
Why? Because they’re the ones who’ll get the job done. And done right and on time – whatever it takes.
Today, that’s all of you. The ones who’ll stand out in any crowd. The first ones picked for any team or project. The ones who will work the longest and hardest. The ones who want “it” the most – whatever “it” happens to be – and who want “it” all.
And, you know what? People see this attitude and energy … they smell and sense it …. they respect it … and then they get out of your way. After that, it’s all up to you.
It’s up to you to invite people to challenge and test you. To bite off way more than you can chew. To ask people to pile it on. To tell ‘em to point you to the mountain and then step aside.
The secret to all of this is really no secret at all. It’s to show your hand – to put it out there and take your best shot - not to hide your cards or your talent. Being too cool to care isn’t cool any more.
The fact is that - when you show people how much you want it - and how much you care, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves. That’s the Flashpoint way.
So, somehow, and sometimes kicking, dragging and screaming, we got you all across the starting line. Not the finish line. The starting line.
Because this is only Day One of the rest of your life and, as we said when each of you walked into the front doors of Flashpoint for the first time – we want the rest of your life to be the best of your life and you, but only you, will make that happen.
Some things in life change every day and some things are true forever. 150 years ago, a writer named Henry David Thoreau said:
If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost;
That’s where they should be.
Now put the foundations under them.
Loosely speaking, he meant that it’s great to have dreams and to aspire to great things, but – as we’re so fond of saying around here – “you get what you work for, not what you wish for”.
You don’t want your castles built on “pillars of sand” as Chris Martin from Coldplay recently said (and he should know, by the way, since he used to rule the world).
The fact is that your work is just starting. There’s no magic here. It’s simple. You can have all the talent, ingenuity and knowledge in the world, but without a rock-solid foundation (which we’ve given you) and without hard, focused, purposeful work (which is up to you); all that talent is basically useless.
Without teamwork, diligence, persistence and commitment, and a little thing called passion, even the best tools and skills don’t mean very much.
As I hope you’ve gathered from seeing how Flashpoint was built and how far it has come in so short a time, great things and dreams do come true – not by sheer strength, not by great good fortune, and not even by design alone – they come true because of the perseverance, the dedication, the faith and the commitment of a group of talented people who strive every day to make things a little better, and slowly, but surely, make great things happen.
I want to take a minute to personally thank all of our staff, our faculty – especially the Department chairs who are up here with us today - our steadfast and supportive investors and all of our students and their families for having the confidence to bet on us and for helping us make our dreams also come true.
I want to especially thank my senior management – Ric, Paula, Mario, Barb, Charles, Terry, Brad and Ernie for their dedication, loyalty, patience and faith. And my assistant Claire, especially Claire, for ALWAYS having a smile on her face and for brightening all of our days.
And I want to thank our families for the sacrifices they have all made as we spent countless hours, nights and weekends at work making Flashpoint a reality - and especially my wife Judy who has patiently suffered every up and every down at my side for too many years to count and who has never stopped believing that hard work and no sleep can make any dream come true.
And now I want to conclude by giving you some brief advice as you head off into the real world.
(1) Your work will always be what you do. It’s not who you are. Don’t confuse the two because all of these industries are tough and full of failure. Don’t lose yourself in the process.
(2) Your family now (and in the future) will be a much more important extension of yourself than any work you do. There’s always more work – you only have one family. Make sure you make room in your busy and exciting life for them. There are no “do-overs” in that department.
(3) Happiness that isn’t based on effort, pain and work isn’t real. If you don’t put the work into something, you don’t really know what it’s worth. Here again, it’s NEVER about the money or the bling. Life’s too short for that. It’s about joy and enthusiasm.
(4) As I said at the outset, we expect that you’ll become leaders of the digital revolution in the not too distant future. You should understand that it’s often lonely being a leader (although at least it’s not crowded) and painful to be the one who has to make the hard choices. But that’s how extraordinary results are achieved. Consensus is about finding the middle ground and making people feel good about themselves and each other. Teamwork is about getting the help you need to see your vision through to completion. But these tools will only take you so far. Most of the world’s great art, films and music are ultimately the result and the expression of a single, uncompromising vision. In the years ahead, you’ll each have your own chance and your opportunity to do or make something really special and spectacular – but only if you have the courage of your own convictions and the confidence to make it happen. We’ve given you the tools and the direction – the hardest choices will always be yours.
(5) Finally, our fondest hope and prayer for all of you is that you find something that you love to do and that you get to do it every day (just as we do) with a vengeance.
So that’s it. Your future’s ahead of you and we’re all just a little jealous because of the amazing world of opportunities and excitement that you’re about to enter.
We have great confidence in each of you and we believe that you’ll make your mark, you’ll make some history, and you’ll make us all proud. God bless you all.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
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