Sen. Murphy Tells Graduates the Small Stuff Matters
Sen. Murphy Tells Graduates the Small Stuff Matters

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

Just over a month after being elected to the United States Senate, Chris Murphy was preparing for a pre-holiday trip to New York City with his wife and kids. While they were waiting for the train, Murphy was informed of the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“On days like Dec. 14, we question what kind of people we really are,” he told more than 500 graduates during UNH’s afternoon Commencement ceremony. “Are we truly good inside or is goodness just a learned behavior that some of us possess?”

Senator Chris Murphy

That question, he said, has been answered through the outpouring of support from millions of people around the world. “I learned that the small stuff – the ordinary, everyday acts of kindness and generosity – matter just as much as the big, sprawling themes of your life,” he said. “It was the accumulation of all these small acts that helped move forward the process of healing.”

Murphy said the last six months have been the most challenging he has faced during his nearly 10 years in public office. “I have seen awful things, but I have also been inspired to live a life full of more everyday acts of kindness than the one that I lived before Dec. 14.

“You are going to take your degree and do something great with your life,” he told the graduates. “You are going to pursue the career of your dreams. You are going to have the resources to build a wonderful loving family. But while you are busy living your life, remember the small stuff, the ordinary acts of kindness that might not mean much to you, can have a transformative impact on the people you touch.”

In concluding his remarks, he quoted the poet William Wordsworth. “That best portion of a good man’s life are his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love. Do those and you will truly be great.”

In his remarks, John Culmone, president of the Graduate Student Council, said what made his time at UNH most memorable were the students from all walks of life with whom he had the opportunity to interact.

"Do all you can to seek new experiences, and be open to fresh ideas, differing opinions, and foreign concepts,” said Culmone, who graduated with a master’s degree in forensic science. Colleges promote this attitude because it helps us to grow both professionally and personally, and I hope you will approach all of your future ventures in this spirit."

View photos from the ceremony,

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