Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to Columbia to take part in commencement ceremonies at the University of Missouri. I’ve been asked to say a few words to the graduating class of the School of Health Professions.
I graduated from the University of Missouri’s School of Health Professions in 1996 and I currently serve on the Alumni Board. I was honored when Dean Richard Oliver extended an invitation for me to speak to this semester’s graduates.
I’ve not yet decided what to say but I do plan on congratulating the graduates on an accomplishment of a dream and realization of a goal. I also plan to share with the graduates that the degree they are about to receive is one of the most important assets they have and that they have a responsibility to leverage that asset and continue to build value in the asset and one of the easiest ways to do so is to join the Alumni Association.
A strong Alumni Association makes for a stronger university and a strong university increases the value of a degree. There are numerous benefits of an Alumni Association membership and those benefits range from remote access to academic data bases, discounts on merchandise, campus privileges, career opportunities and networking, and the ability to stay in touch with friends and colleagues but there is no greater benefit now and into the future than helping to create greater value for your degree.
A couple of weeks ago the now top 10 and currently undefeated Mizzou Tigers Mens Basketball Team played in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Jimmy V Classic is a fund-raiser for the Jimmy V foundation which promotes cancer research in honor of the late basketball coach Jim Valvano. I came across this quote from Coach V that I plan to share with the graduates.
“How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal. And, you have to be willing to work for it.”
I believe this quote reflects the work and determination it took the graduates to reach this milestone but it serves to remind them that their dreams are only beginning.
I graduated from MU 15 years ago and I have no memory of who spoke at my graduation and I doubt 15 years from now any of the graduates who hear me speak tomorrow will remember me. I, on the other hand, will never forget the honor I have been given to speak to them.