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Seattle University


Ready to Talk

Written by Mike Thee and Michelle Etchart
June 6, 2011

The student speakers for commencement were announced last week, with Steven Shrives selected to deliver remarks at the undergraduate ceremony and Dejan Mitkovski set to give a speech at the graduate ceremony.  

Shrives, right, is a Creswell, Ore., native who is graduating with a Bachelor in Nursing. He has been an avid participant in intramurals and is a recent inductee into Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. Shrives is also a member of the Army ROTC’s Major Patrick H. Brady Battalion. He has been commissioned in the United States Army as a member of the Nursing Corps where he looks forward to using his skills and expertise in service to his country. Long term, Shrives hopes to pursue a career in trauma and emergency care. 

Mitkovski is a graduate of the Master in Business Administration program, where he has participated in the Graduate Leadership Formation Certificate cohort. A native of Detroit, his family emigrated from the former Yugoslavia. At Seattle University, Mitkovski served as vice president of service and leadership for the Albers Graduate Student Association. In addition to graduating this month, Mitkovski also begins his new role at Amazon as a financial analyst. 

The Commons recently caught up with Shrives and Mitkovski to ask them what it was like to be selected as student speakers and what they learned at SU. 

The Commons:  What were your thoughts on learning you’d be the student speaker at Seattle University’s undergraduate ceremony? 

Steven Shrives:  I was very pleased to find out that I was selected to be this year’s commencement speaker. I enjoy public speaking and I am excited that I have the opportunity to share a message with my fellow graduates. 

The Commons:  What will you talk about at commencement? 

Steven Shrives:  I do not want to give away all the surprises but I hope to talk about a little something called life. I am going to offer some practical advice and words of encouragement to my fellow graduates and hopefully get a few laughs along the way. 

The Commons:  Looking back on your time at SU, what will you take away from the experience? 

Steven Shrives:  If you want something in this life you have to go after it. The only way to know for sure that you will fail is if you don’t try. I never thought I would have the honor to speak to my fellow graduates this year. But I put myself out there, gave it my best shot, and sure enough I will be behind the podium on June 12.  

The Commons:  What are your thoughts on being selected for this I am honored to be selected as the commencement speaker?

And here's what Mitkovski shared...  

Dejan Mitkovski:  This graduating class is full of some of the most talented and intelligent individuals I have ever met, so to have an opportunity to represent everyone is humbling. My aspiration is to embody the character of our class and deliver a speech that exemplifies everyone’s feelings around the new journey we are all about to embark on. It’s my great fortune to be a part of such a significant event in everyone’s life and help celebrate this remarkable accomplishment. 

The Commons:  What is the biggest thing you will take away from your SU experience?  

Dejan Mitkovski: My biggest takeaway is the focus Seattle University has on not only developing each student to be effective in their future career, but in becoming a positive member of the community.  The emphasis of our mission to “educate the whole person… and to empower leaders for a just and humane world” resonates not only in a mission statement, but in the way each of our courses is taught. All of the faculty and staff believe in this purpose and give the student body all of the necessary knowledge and tools to make it come to fruition. I’ve never been a part of an organization or community with such passion behind a vision. This is why on June 12th I’ll be proud to call myself an alumnus of such a prestigious and esteemed University. 

The Commons:  Can you give us a preview of what you’ll be saying at commencement? 

Dejan Mitkovski:  The goal of my speech is induce each person to reflect on the experience they just completed. Each graduate has an opportunity redefine leadership of our generation and to surpass people’s expectations. Seattle University has given us amazing skills to continue to improve ourselves and our community so that we can make this world a better place.  This will be done by everyone looking inward and identifying what they can do to carve a new path for the future. 

The Commons:  Anything else you’d like to share? 

Dejan Mitkovski:  I would like our graduating class to know that I believe their potential limitless.  People have asked if I was concerned about the impact a slow recovery to the recession and a competitive job market will have on our graduating class.  My simple answer is, “no”.  When I look back at the caliber of individuals in this graduating class and the quality of education that was just achieved I am nothing less than confident and excited about everyone’s future.  The value any one of my peers will have on an organization or team is tremendous.  Seattle University has given us more than just proficiencies to get a job done.  It has empowered us with the ability to challenge conventional thinking, to improve situations and to develop new ways to think about different sets of conditions.  I’m eager to see what people in our class will achieve and to celebrate such an amazing achievement.