I blogged last year at this time, my first graduation since returning to WVU, that every graduation is a small template for the circle of life.
Students see it. Parents see it. Teachers, faculty and staff see it.
The end of a beginning.
However, like the Appalachian Spring, every graduation brings a new growth of new students and new opportunities.
The beginning of a new end.
We look at the graduating students as our own family and trust that they are ready for the next steps in their lives – academically, personally, emotionally, socially, and with grace, faith, love and persistence.
Grace to understand the serenity prayer.
God give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to know the difference.
Faith to deeply understand that big ideas and talented people create a rising tide that creates opportunity for everyone to prosper.
I have written about relative deprivation – the idea that others’ success often causes us to feel less good about what we are doing (their light makes ours dimmer), instead of realizing that we all have different gifts.
I also deeply believe that things work out as they should – when one door closes, another opens. We need to always be on the lookout for this – it is often life-changing.
This is sustaining faith.
Love to care about the people we are on our adventure with in this life. Everything considered, I believe that love is the single important attribute of happy, successful people and organizations.
Abraham Maslow points out that love and safety are critical elements in psychological health and I think that applies to individuals and organizations.
Finally, persistence to understand that heartfelt intention, never giving up and continuing to focus on our goals, will allow us to reach them.
Remember, the secret to mastery is not winning the genetic lottery, or being a childhood prodigy. It is 10,000 hours of practice.
That is a lot of failing, which when looked at from the other end of the telescope is learning.
That is our wish to our graduates:
Have the grace to understand what you can change and commit to change these things important to you with love, faith and persistence.
For our graduates, you are our family and we wish you the best as you venture onto your next adventures and experiences.
Know we are always here for you and are very proud of you.
Godspeed, class of 2016.
Change the world for the better.