Northeastern's 2016 D'Amore-McKim School of Business graduate commencement was held on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 in Matthews Arena conferring over 300 degrees. Student speaker Yuliya Bass, MBA'16, encouraged her fellow graduates to hold onto their curiosity, their drive to change the world and the memories of their days spent at D'Amore-McKim, whether in the class, on corporate residency or time spent with friends. Bass was a Finance concentration student.

The following is her speech in its entirety

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, members of the faculty, friends and families, and the class of 2016!

Today, September the 1st means the end of classes – what a great year for all of us!

My name is Yuliya Bass. Like many of you, I am a new Northeastern graduate, and talking to you today is the first real test of my public speaking skills in this capacity. I honor this opportunity to congratulate you all on your great achievement.

We all have come a long way to get to this point. I came from Belarus, a small post-soviet state still suffering from the consequences of its communist past and current socialist illusions. Given the real situation there, I had little chance to get a high-quality education or line up my future career for success. Regardless of challenges, I chose to change my life and come to this great country to pursue an MBA degree.

I believe that ALL of these caps and gowns in this audience today cover stories about overcoming challenges. They also cover diverse life experiences, cultures, religions, and political views. However, this great establishment, Northeastern University, somehow united us and prepared us to face the tough world outside its walls.

We learned how to tell our stories. We advanced our skills and made them transferable to comply with modern job descriptions. Some of us even learned how to build a raft during our orientation.

However, I will not say that we are so unique that the whole world is looking forward to us succeeding, as it is not necessarily true. Starting today, remember: nobody owes you anything. But what I will say, is that we are capable and hardworking enough to achieve our goals, challenge the status quo, and benefit society.

Today we celebrate the next step in our lives, but today is also the last time we are here all together as classmates. Given the mix of feelings and aspirations, I would like to share with you my hopes for our generation of Huskies.

I hope we will never stop learning and being intellectually curious. Our classroom experiences and residencies prepared us to challenge ideas and do research before forming any opinions. Almost all of our resumes contain keywords like “analytical skills.” I hope we will continue to apply them not just in the workplace, but also in life decisions. We live in a world of distractions and noise. It has become popular to stand for something; media and activists rush to offer us various “ready-to-go” social and political positions. However, some of them are not just pointless, but may also cause destructive long-term consequences for organizations, communities, and even countries.

And with that, I hope that common sense will rule our decisions and help us concentrate on real issues facing us as a new generation of leaders. Let us learn from somebody else's mistakes; let us learn from history and current affairs on an international scale. Well, there are no ideal places with ideal people following ideal systems in this world. But I believe that if we want to work hard and be rewarded, to innovate and create wealth, and to move humankind forward, we have the best opportunities right now in the right place: Northeastern University, Boston, the United States of America.

And finally, I hope we can take a moment to say “Thank you” to our parents for their support, patience, sleepless nights, and love. “Spasibo Papa.”

Ronald Reagan said: “Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known.” With this in mind, I hope that young Huskies will exploit opportunities the previous generations created for them, continue to support the values of hard work and entrepreneurship that this great country was built upon, ignore absurd trends, and take the progress of our civilization to the next level. Let us stay ambitious and focused, let us make our parents and teachers proud, and let us never forget the sweet memories of our time together at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business and Northeastern University.

Thank you.