I am extremely honored to be here today representing ECPI University’s 2015 graduating class. I have gotten to know so many of you very well; and I greatly value and appreciate the relationships I’ve developed while at ECPI University.
I would like to briefly share the story that brought me here today. Two and a half years ago, I was experiencing little fulfillment in my profession. I was not challenged, nor was I reaching my full potential. It was time for a change. I have to admit, at my age, it was awfully tempting to think…nah it’s too late. I’ll never find the time or money to pursue a degree and change my profession.
After numerous discussions with my wife and other family members, I realized if I was going to do it, I had to do it now. I also realized, like many of my fellow graduates today, that I had the tremendous support of my family. In fact, I would like to formally acknowledge all of the encouragement, support, and sacrifice that came from all the families and friends of the graduates. Without it, we would not have made it to this commencement.
So, on a Sunday evening I completed a questionnaire on the ECPI website. I remember feeling hesitation. I remember asking myself, am I really going to commit to this? With some amount of trepidation, I remember, clicking the submit button, and almost instantly receiving a call. I thought ‘this couldn’t be ECPI calling me back that fast, on a Sunday night?’ Sure enough, it was. You didn’t give me one second to change my mind. Thank you… I answered and realized there was no turning back now.
Well, two and a half years later, here I am; and here YOU are. We are all a wide range of ages, and have different backgrounds and experiences. Many of you have courageously served our country, then made the decision to pursue your degree. You all have just as interesting and compelling stories that brought you here today.
My point is…we all have the same “stuff” in common. The “stuff” we had to have to make it here today. We had the desire to find out what we are great at. We had the determination to be something better. We had the strength to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve more for ourselves, and our families. We didn’t take the easy way out. We didn’t think ‘nah it’s too late. I’ll never find the time or money.’ We made the decision, we found a way, and we did it.[Tweet “We didn’t take the easy way out. We didn’t think nah it’s too late. I’ll never find the time or money. We made the decision, we found a way, and we did it.”] It is this drive and determination that is going to make us successful in everything we do from this day forward.
It is important that we realize this “stuff” that we have… that has gotten us this far…not everybody has it; and for that we should be proud. On the other hand, a lot of people DO have it; and there are a lot of people graduating this year from colleges and universities all over the country. We have to make sure we don’t leave ECPI and forget about the “stuff” that has gotten us this far. We will need it more than ever as we compete for the careers we want and deserve.
So, we should all be proud, and celebrate the closing of this chapter of our lives, but let us be mindful of the upcoming challenges we have ahead of us. ECPI University has given us the tools, mentorship, and knowledge we will need to compete in the marketplace and arena of ideas. Let us make sure we go forth with confidence, vigor, and pride as we pursue our dreams. [Tweet “Let us make sure we go forth with confidence, vigor, and pride as we pursue our dreams. #ECPIGrad”]