Commencement Office
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August 2013 Graduation Address
Good afternoon.  
First of all, congratulations to each and every one of you in having achieved this goal in your life!!!!

All of us are aware of the fact that each of you has traveled a different road to get to this point. For some, this road has been short; for others, it has been very long. For some, this road has been smooth, while, for others, it has been very rough. However, you have all made it and that is what is important. In other words, do not use all your energies looking back.  Look forward.

I am keenly aware of your desire for me to finish as soon as possible so you can climb these steps, come up to the platform, and receive your degree diploma. But, I crave your indulgence. My talk will be short but, I hope, I will give you something you will find valuable.

Let me tell you what I will not do in this Address.

I will not attempt to be profound. By this, I mean I will not comment on the uses and limits of knowledge, or contribute to the discussion on the purpose(s) of college education, or debate the merits of vocation versus profession, or discuss the problems of access to college education, or weigh in on the payoff of a college degree. Obviously, all of these issues are important and germane. However, this is not the time or the place to air them.

I will not give you advice---I am sure that, in the past few months, you have received plenty of advice------from your parents, your family members, your neighbors, leaders of your faith community, and so on.  

I have told you what I will not do. So, let me tell you what I will do. I will encourage you to be pragmatic.

Let me use a maritime metaphor to make my point about pragmatism.

Think of yourself as a ship that has just been launched onto the sea of life. You have no idea of the nature, the frequency, and the severity of the storms that lie ahead. Storms in your personal life, storms in your professional life, storms in every aspect of your life. We know one incontestable thing about these storms. We have no control as to when they will occur.  However, we do have control over the ship. Therefore, my message to you is: strengthen your ship. Keep every facet of your ship in an excellent state. You can do so through maintenance of the basic trilogy of life:  your mind, your body, and your spirit.

Maintain your mind through continuous education. Keep current not only in your field of work but in every other---in politics, economics, medicine, music, art, technology, law, history, geography, religion, etc.  Be informed about everything going on in the world.

Maintain your body by proper nutrition, regular exercise, and adequate sleep (no need to “pull all-nighters” now).

Maintain your spirit by meditation and development of positive attitude to life. This positive attitude means seeing barriers or setbacks as mountains to be scaled and not as permanent obstacles.

Graduates, from this day on, do not dwell on how hard it has been to achieve your goals.  Rather, each day, say,  “In spite of the many obstacles in my way, I have already achieved a lot and will go to even more success”.

Once again, congratulations!!!  Go ahead and make your mark in this world!!!




More from Commencement

View a slideshow View a slideshow of August 2013 Commencement
Video: watch Gladius Lewis' address to the graduates
Read Gladius Lewis' address to the graduates
View the Commencement Program

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Last Updated: 8/9/13