2018 Honors Speech

2018 Honors Speech

As we come together this evening to celebrate academic excellence, it is with great joy that on behalf of the IU Kokomo faculty and staff that I welcome friends, family members and, of course, our remarkable students. Students I want to express my deep admiration for your personal commitment to excellence.  You are here tonight because of your perseverance and self-discipline to achieve outstanding work.  Tonight you are being honored for being on the Dean’s list, completing the honors program, being an outstanding student leader, a veteran, or for being the best student in your major.  Hard work, dedication, and commitment have played a role in your success.  Now with that success comes responsibility. We will look to you for your leadership.  Society will look to you to make a difference in all of the challenges we face in the future. So tonight I want to challenge you to lead, to make a difference in every area of your life.  Have you heard the quote – Extraordinary people are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  I believe that is true.  We are here to honor each of you because you have chosen to show up every day at IU Kokomo and do great work.  You have chosen not to be ordinary – you have chosen to lead.

I hope you will continue on that path when you graduate whether that’s tomorrow or a few years from now.  So how will you do that?  According to research done at the Work & Family Institute, there are seven qualities peak performers share.

  1. First create a vision of what you want to do.  Outline a set of goals and a path to get you there. I encourage each of you to create your own personal vision statement.  I recently met an IUK student who someday wants to build a school for girls in her home country of Pakistan – a remarkable vision.
  2. Develop Focus- it keeps you on the path to your goals when obstacles arise. So write out your vision statement and keep it somewhere in front of you.
  3. Decide what you believe in because that will determine how you will travel your path – defining who you are what you stand for will serve you well on your journey.
  4. Find your Passion. Passion is the love you have for what you do and it fuels the journey. I have been blessed in my career - I can’t imagine getting up every morning at any other place than a college campus – helping students achieve their goals and dreams.
  5. Develop your communication skills they will help you manage your important relationships along the way.
  6. Strive for Balance in your life -  it is important to take time to refresh your mind and spirit and to stay healthy when the journey gets difficult.
  7. Develop Resiliency- it is the ability to manage obstacles and see that opportunities they bring.

Let’s end with a story.  One day a traveler, walking along a lane, came across 3 stonecutters working in a quarry. Each was busy cutting a block of stone. Interested to find out what they were working on, he asked the first stonecutter what he was doing. “I am cutting a stone!” As though it was pretty obvious. 

Still no wiser the traveler turned to the second stonecutter and asked him what he was doing. “I am cutting this block of stone to make sure that its square, and its dimensions are uniform, so that it will fit exactly in its place in a wall.” A bit closer to finding out what the stonecutters were working on but still unclear, the traveler turned to the third stonecutter. He seemed to be the happiest of the three and when asked what he was doing replied: “I am building a cathedral.”

This story beautifully illustrates a peak performer who has a clear vision and then sets out to achieve that vision. You are already on that path by being here tonight –you have chosen the vision of excellence.  Because of each of you our future looks bright.