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Cisco Chairman Urges Santa Clara University's Class of 2009 to Embrace Change

Saturday, Jun. 13, 2009
John Chambers

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – June 13, 2009 – Whether you're working as a high-tech executive in the Silicon Valley or a teacher inspiring children, the keys to success are education, integrity, and compassion, said John Chambers, Chairman and CEO of Cisco, who delivered Santa Clara University's undergraduate commencement today.

“The education you have has prepared you not just for your next job but to experience life as you go forward,” he said. “It's allowed you to build relationships, and I encourage you to keep them. It'll surprise you how often those relationships will come back later in life to help you with opportunities and also when you face challenges in life, which all of us will.”

Chambers challenged the students to embrace change and learn to make it exciting, even if the change makes them uncomfortable.

“If you don't take chances in life and if you aren't willing to take risks, you will never achieve what you're capable of contributing back, both in your personal life and your business life,” he said.

Chambers is widely recognized for his philanthropic leadership at Cisco. He takes an active role in corporate social responsibility initiatives worldwide. He has also served two presidents and received the first-ever Clinton Global Citizen Award from President Bill Clinton and the U.S. State Department's top corporate social responsibility award from former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

More than 12,000 family and friends cheered and applauded the 1,383 undergraduates, as they walked across the stage at Buck Shaw Stadium. Provost Lucia Albino Gilbert was the presider of ceremonies for the 158th commencement, and Jack Treacy, S.J., delivered the invocation.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,758 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

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