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Glenda Dawson Commencent Speech Aug. 5, 2006

See State Representative to Speak at Commencement for Glenda Dawson Biographical Information

Glenda Dawson
State Representative Glenda Dawson
Dr. Gaertner, board of regents, faculty, staff, distinguished guests, parents and graduates.

What a pleasure to be here on this beautiful campus and back on turf that at one time was so familiar. And graduates only you can relate--it was a love/hate relationship.

I loved Sam Houston, I loved the orange and white, I loved the people, I loved the opportunity I was given, but oh I hated the work that went with this place.

I hated the late night studying, I hated the exams, and, (confession is good for the soul), at the time I'll bet I didn't much care for some of my professors.

But I've grown to love what Sam Houston gave me, love how Sam Houston directed me, and love the TLC I received from Sam Houston State University.

Don't get me wrong graduates. It wasn't Tender Loving Care, but the TLC I received from this university, and I know that you have as well, is:

T -- You've learned to think.

L -- You've learned the necessity of being a lifetime learner.

C -- I hope that you have learned to be creative in whatever the assignment or project.

Corporate America tells me that the positions that are available are those which encourage and demand some unique creativity and imagination that can only be done by those who are not afraid of being unique or afraid of taking a risk.

As graduates, you are becoming a part of the best-educated generation in the world. Your grandparents are called The Greatest Generation for their accomplishments over the last 40 years. Now you have an opportunity to do even more. You are not entitled to anything more than others, only the opportunity to do even more.

You have outrun lots of people. You have endured. Congratulations. You still have other races to run. So I applaud your efforts, and yes, this is your day.

But parents and grandparents it is also your day. I think I have a pretty good idea of the sacrifices you have made to provide this privilege for this graduate today.

You have provided new horizons for your family, new opportunities for others in your extended family. These graduates will serve as a role model for the future of your entire family. You have raised the bar.

I watched by mom and dad scrimp and save, do without, encourage, support, and for those precious efforts I benefited and quite frankly my brother, sister, cousins, children and even my grandchildren benefited.

So graduates, I challenge you to not let this day go by so that you don't give those parents, grandparents, spouses, a sincere "Thank you" for their efforts and sacrifices.

Now, you are ready to face the future and it is not a matter of whether or not you will face challenges, but rather how you will rise to those challenges.

As graduates of this fine university, you simply cannot graduate with passing grades and then flunk life.

What are you going to do with your education? Can you make a difference?

You bet you can make a difference if you believe that you can and that you have a passion for living and for what you do. Pogo said, "How are you going to have a dream come true if you don't have a dream?"   Have a dream.

Now where do you go, and what do you do?

Some of you have more education in your plans, some have traveling on your horizon and many will join the work force and begin paying off those loans. But the best advice I can give you is to listen.

Learn to listen to your heart, listen to your head, listen to advice (good and bad) given by others. Many times bad advice will direct you as to what you don't want to do.

I suppose my father had some inclination that I would someday be in a position that I would truly need this poem he taught me and I am certainly using it in the Legislature. It has served me well.

You are learning when you listen, you are learning when you look,
You are learning when you stop and think or even read a book.
You are learning when you're sitting down, standing up or walking,
You are learning something all the time except for when you're talking.

We are told, "Unto whom much is given, much is required."

You have been given much. Now give back. Give back to your community, to your profession, to your university and to this great state of Texas and by all means give to others encouragement and support which so many people need.

People don't really care what you know and people don't really care what you do. People care about how you make them feel. Let people know how important they are in your life.

Graduates, I'm sure you have already seen that life will not always be fair. I am quite sure I have said before, "That's not fair."

Ladies and gentlemen, I have made a discovery. Fare is what you pay to ride on a bus.

Life will not always be fair.

I don't know how to explain it, but sometimes things just don't work out. Whether it be unfair on a job situation, or unfair in some health issue, or unfair in some dealing with an individual. But fare is what you pay to ride on a bus.

Winston Churchill said if you find yourself walking in Hell--keep walking.

Don't dwell on finger pointing, don't dwell on finding excuses or taking time to tell others how unfair things are. This will not accomplish a thing. Just keep walking.

I believe in you and it is quite evident that you have many others who believe in you. Your life will matter. Live life fully. Make a difference.

So...

Think.

Learn.

And be Creative.

Listen.

Make people feel important.

Know that "fare" is what you pay to ride on a bus.

And read a good book. May I suggest Dr. Seuss's book, "Oh the Places You'll Go!"

Don't make fun--Dr. Seuss got his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his graduate degree from Yale. So, no slouch. And right after he had written "Oh the Places You'll Go!"

So in closing I leave you with his words:

And will you succeed?
Yes!   You will, indeed!
(98 and percent guaranteed.)
So, be your name Buxbaum
or Bixby or Bray or
Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So, get on your way!

I congratulate you and applaud your accomplishments. Now, go show the world what you're made of. Have a great life!

—END—

SHSU Media Contact: Frank Krystyniak
Aug. 7, 2006
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