Congratulations to the AUP Class of 2013


May is always a month of graduations, and I want to wish all of our AUP graduating seniors the very best of luck.

I am immensely proud of you and all that you have accomplished, whether you are headed out into the world to serve in the Auxiliary, Reserve, or the active duty Coast Guard (the Class of 2013 includes all three), public service elsewhere, graduate school, or the private sector.  You yourselves have much to be proud of.

You inspire us at a moment in history when we wonder if America is still capable of getting big things done.  Your work at the crossroads of some of our biggest national challenges in education, innovation, professional opportunity, and public safety has helped to forge a future AUP that is a model institution for others to follow.  You are the first class ever to complete the rigorous nationwide program of study, and in so doing have met higher standards of academic and operational achievement than any students to ever before graduate from AUP.  You have stood up some of the nation's most successful AUP Units.  You have led your junior shipmates to great heights operating at the waterfront, responding to emergencies, making incredible contributions as interns, and as heirs to the long blue line of Coast Guardsmen -- Auxiliary, Reserve, and active duty -- whose Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty have distinguished our service for generations.

I hope that you will not have this be the end of your service to your communities and country.  You've come so far, made such a difference, and have at your feet far too great an opportunity to change the world.  Don't turn back now, because we need you out there doing what you do best.  As Steve Jobs, whose own Earth shaking legacy spanned nearly your entire education, famously said: "The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."

Go out and make it happen.  Think different.  Be great.

With thanks for your extraordinary service,

Andrew Welch
Division Chief
U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary University Programs