“Headmaster Charleston, faculty members, fellow students, family and friends, welcome. We never thought this day would come. We prayed for its quick delivery, crossed days off our calendars, counted hours, minutes, and seconds, and now that it’s here, I’m sorry it is because it means leaving friends who inspire me and teachers who have been my mentors—so many people who have shaped my life and my fellow students’ lives impermeably and forever.
I live in two worlds. One is a world of books. I’ve been a resident of Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, hunted the white whale aboard the Pequod, fought alongside Napoleon, sailed a raft with Huck and Jim, committed absurdities with Ignatius J. Reilly, rode a sad train with Anna Karenina, and strolled down Swann’s Way. It’s a rewarding world, but my second one is by far superior. My second one is populated with characters slightly less eccentric but supremely real, made of flesh and bone, full of love, who are my ultimate inspiration for everything. Richard and Emily Gilmore are kind, decent, unfailingly generous people. They are my twin pillars without whom I could not stand. I am proud to be their grandchild.
But my ultimate inspiration comes from my best friend, the dazzling woman from whom I received my name and my life’s blood, Lorelai Gilmore. My mother never gave me any idea that I couldn’t do whatever I wanted to do or be whomever I wanted to be. She filled our house with love and fun and books and music, unflagging in her efforts to give me role models from Jane Austen to Eudora Welty to Patti Smith.
As she guided me through these incredible eighteen years, I don’t know if she ever realized that the person I most wanted to be was her.”