Ohio State University: Ohio State graduates called to create opportunity

Sunshine and warm weather greeted the graduates of The Ohio State University’s class of 2022 as they entered Ohio Stadium for the spring commencement ceremony Sunday.

President Kristina M. Johnson presided over the ceremony her remarks encouraged graduates to seize the opportunities afforded to them and when the time came, to pass opportunity on to others.

“The Ohio State University represents the constant expansion of opportunities, and all of our graduates today have benefited from that. But as we celebrate your accomplishments, I want to invoke the words of the legendary Buckeye football coach Woody Hayes: I urge you to “pay forward” by creating opportunities for others,” she said. “As Woody liked to say, you can never fully ‘pay back,’ and give everyone in the previous generations who supported you the full measure of your gratitude, because they won’t always be around. But you can honor their goodness by paying forward.”

Intel CEO Patrick P. Gelsinger delivered the commencement address. He spoke to graduates about the challenges he faced as a young man. He left his family farm in pursuit of a two-year technical degree and started working for Intel as an 18-year-old.

“Graduation is a time to celebrate, reflect on the sacrifices and accomplishments of the past and the possibilities of the future,” Gelsinger said.

Gelsinger spent the first 30 years of his career at Intel, becoming the company’s first chief technology officer. Then, he said, he was “pushed out.” He spent 11 years leading other businesses before he was asked to return to Intel and rejoin the company as CEO.

He spoke about the role technology would continue to play in the lives of graduates. He said they were part of a generation that could find tomorrow’s “magic.”

“Today, every aspect of human existence is becoming digital. And technology in itself, is neither good nor bad. It’s largely neutral. It’s our jobs to shape technology as a force for good. Because when it is good, it’s magic,” he said.

As Intel CEO, Gelsinger announced plans to invest more than $20 billion in the construction of two new leading-edge chip factories in Ohio — the largest single private section investment in state history — and an additional $100 million toward partnerships with educational institutions such as Ohio State to develop talent and bolster research programs in the so-called “Silicon Heartland.”

“This project will create thousands of jobs for you, the graduates of The Ohio State University,” he said.

Gelsinger called on the graduates to find and learn from good mentors, set ambitious goals and have passion for what they do.

“We can improve the lives of every human on the planet through technology. We have the opportunity ahead to build out the world we want to live in. We cannot stand still. We must move forward faster to the future. It is up to us,” he said.

Johnson also called for a moment of silence from the assembled crowd to honor the memories of the university community who passed away this academic year, including two students last week.

“Our hearts go out to their families and friends at this moment of shock and grief. These, of course, come on the heels of two years of grief and loss caused by the pandemic. Although these loved ones and friends cannot be physically with us, their impact will always be present,” she said.

In addition to Gelsinger’s address, Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Sen. Robert J. Portman; and statistician Dr. Grace Wahba also spoke to graduates and were awarded honorary degrees. Ohio State awarded the Distinguished Service Award to Caroline C. Whitacre and Robert L. Wright Jr. during the ceremony.

12,439 graduates were granted degrees Sunday. Of those graduates, 296 received doctorate degrees, 1,945 master’s degrees, 969 graduate professional degrees and about 9,229 bachelor’s and associate degrees and certificates.

Ohio State’s commencement is a global affair. International students hail from nearly 93 countries and six continents are represented in this graduating class with students from Australia, Chile, Honduras, Malaysia, Somalia and the United Kingdom just to name a few.

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