Commencement Address

Dr. Steven A. Scott, President, Pittsburg State University

December  17, 2010

Good evening and welcome to the Pittsburg State University commencement ceremony for December 2010.  After years of hard work and with a commitment to seeing and achieving a better future for themselves, we celebrate tonight the successes of these graduates.  The earning of a degree, whether at the graduate or undergraduate level, represents an important milestone, creating value, differentiating, elevating, and enhancing the lives of the individuals we are here to recognize. 

Traditionally, Pittsburg State commencement ceremonies have included announcing the name of each and every graduate as they cross the stage. We'll continue that practice tonight.  Our attention to the individual and our commitment to student success  demand that we do so.  And we know, that as graduates, your presence here tonight says that you want to make that walk and symbolically and publically receive your diploma.  Your family and friends are here with us to witness that moment as well.  I think it's fitting that we pause to thank those who are here tonight, as well as the hundreds of friends and family members who are watching on-line, in support of these graduates.  Graduates, please stand and face your guests and join me in a round of applause for the family and friends who've offered their support and encouragement along the way.

On behalf of the university, I want you graduates to know that we are honored that you chose to attend Pittsburg State, and we take great joy in seeing you accomplish your academic goals.  By earning your degree, we are confident that you are prepared for the future, as uncertain as that future may be, and we all recognize that your newly-earned credential, broadened perspective, expanded intellect, reinforced values, and your enduring work ethic are needed in this world.  Even though he said it in 1963, John F. Kennedy's words are as relevant today as they were then.   He observed "We need men who can dream of things that never were."   Your degree-this new credential--is not about 'more of the same,' but it is truly about what can be.  I'm excited about your future and what a difference you will make in your workplace, in your community, and in your family.

Graduates, I wish you continued success and great happiness, and that you find in the words of Colin Powell and Mahatma Gandhi just what those two concepts mean.  As for success, Colin Powell tells us "there are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.'  I trust you've learned that here at Pittsburg State and that these lessons will carry with you in the years ahead.

As far as happiness goes, according to Mahatma Gandhi, "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."  I hope we've provided a setting for you to embrace this notion of happiness as you've grown intellectually and professionally. 

Please know that all of us at Pittsburg State University will take pride in your future successes (which are sure to plentiful) and share in the happiness you achieve. 

For what this moment means to our graduates, and for the many successes that are sure to follow in the years to come, let's recognize tonight's graduates.

I want to take a little liberty with the program and introduce a member of the platform party who plays a very important role here at the university, Mr. Brandon Mills. Brandon is a Senior, majoring in Political Science from Lansing, Kansas. He currently serves as the president of the Student Government Association and is providing strong leadership for our student body. Let's recognize Brandon, and indeed all of our students, with a round of applause.

Having served as a faculty member at Pittsburg State since 1988, I understand the critical role faculty play in the experiences of our students during their time here on campus.  The same is true of our unclassified and classified staff personnel.  We are blessed here at the university to be able to attract and retain top-quality individuals who focus passionately on ensuring our students have the best opportunity to succeed. 

To the faculty and staff, I want to express my sincere appreciation to you for your many contributions that make this evening possible.  I know the relationships you have formed with members of this graduating class will endure for a lifetime.  We continue to ask you to do more with less, and you continue to respond to this challenge.  Our students, their families, the state of Kansas and this region are the beneficiaries of your efforts. 

On the stage this evening representing the faculty is the president of the university's Faculty Senate, Dr. Barb McClasky. For 18 years, Dr. McClasky has served as a professor in the department of Nursing. At this time, I'd ask Dr. McClaskey, and all of our faculty and staff who are here this evening to please stand and allow us to express our sincere appreciation.

As we all know, it takes great people to have a great university...my sincere thanks to the faculty and staff.