When the Class of 2004 walks through Harper Quad to receive their diplomas they will be taking one of the biggest steps of their lives and the Maroon applauds their collective achievements. Whether the next step is graduate school, unemployment, nine-to-five, or the exciting and fast-paced service industry, they all will have had the benefits of a well rounded liberal education of the sort only the University of Chicago can offer.
The U of C and the world are very different places than they were way back when the graduating class arrived in 2000. Randel became president; Bush became president; the events of 9/11 occurred; Woodward closed; webmail replaced telnet; Palevsky opened; the economy slumped; Bartlett transformed from a gym into a dining hall; America went to war, twice; Ratner opened; the A-level became a 24-hour study space; minors were introduced; concentrations became majors; and much more. Through all of this the Class of 2004 has been here, in Hyde Park, watching, discussing, and learning from it.
Now it is time for them to go out and exercise the skills that they have learned these past years. The Maroon is remarkably confident in the great successes in store for the Class of 2004. We also recognize that sometimes things won't work out the way they were supposed to, especially at first, but that is OK. And so we leave the Class of 2004 with the sage wisdom of Reality Bites: "The only thing you have to be by the age of 23 is yourself."