As many of you know, I am unable to attend graduation with you here today. However, I do have something to say to all of you here at Lewis and Clark.  For a number of years now, you and this institution have become my second family and home.  I love and adore you all dearly and I know those feelings are returned in kind.  Yet, much of what you loved about me, you are responsible for.  This place, my fellow students and professors alike, all helped shape and mold me, helped solidify my feelings, my hopes, my dreams.  You have ALL been part in making me who I was, leaving bits of you with me.  For if you respect and admire the person I was, then you have to realize I could not have been me without you. I will miss you all.  I am proud of you all.  I wish you well in life and all your future endeavors.  You have taken on and conquered a large challenge in life.  Now it is time to take your diploma and partake in the next.  It was one of my greatest dreams in life to be sitting beside all of you here today, to be graduating, and to take on the wide expanse and vastness of the next leg of the journey.  Unfortunately, I had challenges of my own I could not overcome.  Yet, if the moment allows, it is indeed okay to let a grin seep across your wonderful faces, for now I AM with you, each and every one of you, all at the same time.  And if it’s okay with you, I wouldn’t mind keeping a watchful and loving eye on you all from this day forward. As I said, one lf my biggest desires in life was to graduate. I guess in a sense I did, although my diploma is a bit different than yours. I’ve graduated to a better place, a place without pain, fatigue, hospital beds, or ventilators.  I have loved ones on both sides of this existence. I guess it was time for me to join the ones on the other side.  But please don’t fret too long over me.  I am being taken well care of in a better place and I will be in your hearts and minds for as long as you care to have me there.  Goodbye for now, for now, and take care.  I wish you well and love you all, my family at LC.
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...In closing, I can not fail to mention one other element that binds you as a class, and that is the element of tragedy and loss. Shared loss is one of the most intense bonds that people have in common with each other. In this regard, the last year has been especially hard...I speak in particular, though, of the passing of your classmate Cody Dieruf. Cody, outstanding student and beacon of optimism to everyone she encountered, would be here today to receive her degree had not the ravages of cystic fibrosis taken her from us a scant ten days ago. Her not being here today is acknowledged by many of you who wear purple ribbons in her memory, and each ribbon represents an enduring commitment not only to Cody herself but to each other and to the indomitable spirit that burned in her until the very moment of her death. Your shared memory of her as your classmate is one tender bond that will, I am certain, tether you together and comfort you for many a year yet to come.

Words from Cody's Professors

Education was extremely important to Cody. The scholarship in her memory will benefit disabled students who wish to attend L&C. 

 

If you would like to contribute to this educational fund, please contact: 

 

Office of Admissions
Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road
Portland, Oregon 97219-7899
503-768-7040

800-444-4111 toll free

503-768-7055 fax
admissions@lclark.edu

Click here to link to the
L&C Dept of Sociology
& Anthropology

...Wasn't that always her way?  Quiet and unassuming, just being there and giving off this incredible energy -- a combination of powerful self-will and knowledge, humility and hesitation, and great kindness and consideration...I know that I am better prepared for the next step from having known and been inspired by Cody.

                 -- Linda Isako Angst, Ph.D.

 

...I always left those encounters impressed by Cody's courage and tenacity, but also by the way she focused her attention beyond her illness to her own aspirations and to caring for her friends here.  Although CF could control her body, it clearly did not control her mind or her spirit....Cody knew how to be so fully generous.  She was generous with her smile, her friendship, her intellect, her hope and her love.  Cody lived life as it came and made the most of the gifts and burdens she was given by giving to those around her with abandon...

                -- Mark Duntley, Dean of the L&C Chapel

 

"An education is one of the most beautiful gifts that life has to offer and I want to dive into it and then share what it gives to me with the rest of the world.  I am well aware that my college career will be filled with dips and bends as it is for most collegiates, but I welcome these adventures and look forward to them.  I aim to explore myself and in the progress expand myself.  Even though my school absences are abundant, my education continues to prosper as I have a fierce hunger for knowledge. I work harder and devote more time than most students not only because I want to keep up with the pack, but because I want to be the leader. Some doubt that I will be able to walk in the shoes I hope to fulfill, but I always succeed.  Not only do I satisfy the breadth of my intended, but I dance in them until the soles run ragged."  

                                       -- Cody Dieruf

When Cody graduated from  Bozeman High School in 2000, she had a dream of graduating from college.  She chose Lewis & Clark College in Portland,Oregon to pursue that dream.  Her remarkable intelligence was obvious, and she soon earned the respect and admiration of her professors and her peers.   Five years later, Lewis & Clark awarded Cody her hard-earned and well deserved bachelor of arts degree in sociology and anthropology.  Eleven days before her graduation, Cody lost her courageous battle with Cystic Fibrosis.  Although she was unable to attend graduation ceremonies, she was awarded her degree posthumously.  At the moment Cody's name was read for conferral of her degree, the entire audience stood for a moment of silence to honor her.  Hundreds of graduating seniors and faculty wore purple ribbons of remembrance for her, and her professor, Linda Isako Angst, read a message from Cody that was written by her older brother, Levi.  As a testament to the profound impact Cody had on the Lewis & Clark community, a scholarship has been set up in her name.

Lewis & Clark College
Cody Dieruf Scholarship Fund
Cody’s Message to her L&C Family – Written by Levi
Commencement Remarks by L&C President, Tom Hochstettler

Cody Dieruf '05, from  Bozeman, Montana, died April 28, 2005, after a long struggle with cystic fibrosis. The 23-year-old, who was just a few days shy of graduating, received her degree in sociology and anthropology posthumously during undergraduate commencement on May 8. Dieruf's death came as a shock, even to those who knew her well. She had been hospitalized a number of times for treatment of cystic fibrosis during her years at Lewis & Clark but had always managed to bounce back…Dieruf was a ballet dancer with an angelic smile…Survivors include her parents, George and Ginny Dieruf, and her brother and best friend, Levi.

Click here to read the entire article from the L&C Chrnoicle
Courageous Student Mourned
Click here to read the MT News Story about Cody
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