Full Text of Computational Media Grad Ali Foreman's Reflection Address at Spring 2017 Commencement

My dearest Georgia Tech,

We need to talk. It’s not you, it’s me.

The first day I met you was magical. You gave me that lovely little yellow hat and a bag full of promotional materials I didn’t need. My parents loved you instantly. Almost as much as I did. I wandered your grounds, took in the hot Atlanta air, marveled at the sheer number of clubs you had for me to join. With you, I could volunteer at Atlanta Children’s Hospital, I could build a solar powered race car, or even simulate the zombie apocalypse in an elaborate game of tag. Gosh, the possibilities. You told me, “You’re at Georgia Tech. You can do that.” And slowly, but surely—I began to believe it, too.

Since we met everything has changed. Together, we witnessed the miracle on North Ave. and became Orange Bowl champions. Together, we were inspired by American heroes like former President Barack Obama, comedian Ellen DeGeneres, and that kid who stole the “T” from Tech Tower. Together, we found water on Mars and visited every continent on earth. Together, we got a Panda Express in the Student Center and at least briefly the world’s smallest Walmart.

Our memories together are good ones. But it’s time to move on. No, no. You are as beautiful as the day I met you. Tech Green is finally green again and I’ve come to appreciate the Einstein statue I told you you would regret.

The truth is it’s time for us each to grow—even if that means growing apart. You have given me more than I ever could have asked for—teaching me not only what it means to be a good student, a good leader, a good Yellow Jacket, but also what it means to be a good person. Our time together is the foundation on which I build my life. You will always be the place where I learned who and what truly mattered to me. You will always be my home.

I have given you all I can in return. My time, my passion, my care. On some nights, even my bare feet in the Campanile. But I must go on to pursue my dreams and become all that you believed I could be.

And don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find someone new. Like 4,000 freshmen every fall. I’ve seen you eyeing them with their high SAT scores and perfect GPAs.

I promise I will never forget you. Not only because you are so special to me, but also because the Alumni Association will never let that happen.

You know... I guess I was wrong. It’s not just me. It is you. It’s... well it’s us. We swarm together from all over the globe, from all different types of families, with all different types of dreams. We are white, we are gold. We are brave, we are bold. And for now, we are finished. Even as we are just beginning.

Forever yours,

The Class of 2017