The College of Business has prepared us all for this next step.

KelseyDuffKelsey Duff – Convocation Speech


Class of 2015, remember when we were here in Hilton for Destination Iowa State back in the August of the beginning of our adventure? Back when we all had our landyards around our necks and those lovely drawstring bags that just screamed “I am a freshman.” We all know we make jokes about freshmen but deep down we all wish we could go back to freshman year and relive these college days…but trust me, it’s only going to get better after this day.


I remember the speaker at DIS saying that just in 4 years (or 5, if you’re lucky). We would be right back here in Hilton celebrating our big achievement. Well, here we are, filled with happiness and maybe sadness of saying “we did it.” In these last few years, I know I learned many valuable lessons – narrowing them down, let me share 2 with you.


  1. Friends are your family here.
    • From the first time you stepped in the dorms, there were these one or two pals that you immediately clicked with. They were the ones that ran around the dorm and campus with you, checking out all the exciting things that Iowa State would be offering you during your next years as a true Cyclone. And those friends are still in your life today (and in my case) are currently my roommates.
    • Seeing that most of us are from all over the United States or even around the world, we aren’t close in proximity to our families, so we needed people to stand in their spots. These friends that you have made during your time here have been through it all with you; from celebrations of accepting an internship or a job, they’ve seen you struggle in a class, pig out at the dining centers, been there when you’ve had a tough break up, and even when you wanted that superdog at 2am.
    • They’ve truly lived your adventure out with you, as you have done the same for them.
    • This is why they’ve been your family; they know you just as well as you know yourself and even if you may be going different directions after graduation, you know you’ll still stay close with them, well, because they’re your family.
  2. This isn’t the end – it’s the beginning of another adventure
    • This may be a closure to this chapter of our lives, but just think, we have another one to look forward to. It’s another chapter filled with new opportunities, celebrations, and looking forward to reunions and homecomings of seeing our college friends.
    • For each one of us, our hard work and time at Iowa State has and will pay off. Someone in this crowd with start a successful business, another one of you will be a CEO of a large company, someone will live and travel abroad, and even maybe one of you will come back to Iowa State as a professor. Have faith in that what you learned and did at Iowa State will take you far and bring you success, because I know the College of Business has prepared us all for this next step.
Kelsey Duff_CoB Selfie

Selfie with the College of Business Faculty and Staff

Friends and family of these Iowa State graduates, thank you for coming out today for celebrating this huge milestone in our lives. For always taking our late night phone calls and listening to us complain about a class or a project that seems to be taking over our lives. For making a weekend trip to Ames to cheer on the cyclones with us. And (hopefully) going out to Welch Avenue tonight with us graduates to celebrate our accomplishment. And lastly for supporting us through this crazy adventure, we couldn’t have done it without you.


To the College of Business faculty and staff, thank you for providing us with this incredible journey. For the opportunities that were given to us and the resources such as the career fair, study abroad, and student organizations, you have helped us all prepare for our next step. You have created well rounded professionals who have so much potential to become whatever they want. A professor whom I have become very close with during my time at Iowa State, once told me, “work hard, be nice to everyone, and keep the faith.” Thank you Dr. Wong for providing me with an inspirational message that I will forever carry with me during my next adventure. I hope the rest of you can also keep this close to your heart as I have.


And to the class of 2015, congratulations! I wish you all the best for the future. Always have a special place for Iowa State in your heart and always know that you can return to your Cyclone home. I sure hope you enjoyed your adventure at Iowa State, because I know I did.


Thank you.