As Santa Clara University's undergraduate class of 2012 celebrated earning their bachelor's degrees, they also received some sound life advice from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
"You should always feel in life, and your job, that your actions have a good purpose behind them," Wozniak told the estimated 1200 students receiving degrees on Saturday. "They better the world in some way. Don't ever do something just because it's an assignment. You better believe there is some end goal that is good for the world."
As students chanted "Woz, Woz" in admiration of the Silicon Valley legend, who many credit with helping launch the personal computer industry, asked the new graduates to think about what makes a good life.
Wozniak also received the honorary degree of Doctorate of Engineering Leadership during the University's 161st commencement.
Wozniak, currently chief scientist at Fusion-io, is a longtime supporter of education, especially math, electronics, and science for children in the Bay Area. He has spent many years supporting programs that spark passion for math and science, teaching grade school while stressing hands-on learning, and encouraging creativity.
He says individuality, creativity and the desire to do good led to his first computer invention nearly 35 years ago.
"I really wanted to help the world communicate so much… I wanted to be a part of a better education. I wanted to be a part of a young person being able to do things I never could before, " said Wozniak.
Having an innovator as well known as "Woz" address this year's graduating class was especially fitting as Santa Clara's School of Engineering celebrates its 100th anniversary.
Civil engineering major Nathan Rogers delivered the valedictory address. Rogers completed one of the many senior design projects that focused on developing nations. His project helped create a safe, sustainable, and affordable house for use in the undeveloped regions of West Africa.
"The greatest gift Santa Clara has given us is the realization that as educated people we have tremendous potential to generate meaningful change throughout the world," said Rogers.
He also thanked staff, administration, and faculty for their generosity and dedication toward Santa Clara University's mission of cultivating the knowledge and faith to build a more humane, just, and sustainable world.
This year also marks 50 years since Santa Clara University became California's first co-ed catholic university. Mary Somers Edmunds, SCU's first female graduate received an honorary Doctorate of Education at Saturday's ceremony.
"In 2012, it is impossible to recognize this campus without the contributions of our undergraduate women. In the same vein, our alumni family is all the richer. Alumnae have excelled as business leaders, scientists, journalists, engineers, politicians, teachers and so much more while shaping Santa Clara and the world," said Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Peggy Bradshaw.
SCU's class of 2012 is a racially diverse group consisting of 484 white, 263 Asian, 245 Hispanic, 39 black, and 13 Pacific Islander students—as well as 260 more students who are bi-racial and multi-racial. The graduates also range in age from 17 to 43 years old.
About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California's Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master's and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master's universities, California's oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.
Santa Clara University
Marika Krause, 408-829-4836
SCU Media Relations