Blog Post: As a professor at Lander University for 23 years, I’ve participated in over 50 graduations, and I want to acknowledge that US Senator Tim Scott’s Commencement Address delivered today to the largest graduating class in Lander’s history was among the most motivational I can recall. Senator Scott reminded the graduates of three (really four) things:
1. Failure is part of succeeding, and it is fine as long as you don’t stop. He reminded them of Steve Jobs getting fired from Apple, then going on to invent the iphone. He told us how he, himself, failed several classes in high school on his way to becoming a highly successful businessman then politician.
2. Stand up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. The Senator discussed the importance of being a mentor. He described how he benefited from one of his first bosses, who saw promise in him and helped him to get on the path to success.
3. If you want to walk on water, you have to get out of the boat. Senator Scott talked about how obtaining your dreams involves taking risks. He told the class of 2014 to look up in the stands where their family and friends sat. Then he reminded them that they have a support group to help when they start to sink.
Finally, and this wasn’t one of the Senator’s main points, he told the new graduates:
4. Don’t use your music money on football. Scott invited us to have some fun at his expense as he broke into a really bad falsetto version of a song nobody knew: “Children Hold On To Your Dreams,” by William Wee Gee Howard. He then read the lyrics. The point he made was: Dream Big.
The Senator concluded saying that this is an important time in America’s history, and the graduates have an opportunity to play an important role in shaping the future.
Congratulations, Lander University Class of 2014.