Last weekend, Louisiana Tech University conveyed degrees on 1,040 graduates, the second-largest class in University history, in four ceremonies.
Each commencement featured a different speaker –- all recognized and distinguished graduates of Louisiana Tech University. All the speakers focused on the impact that a Louisiana Tech education made on their lives.
In his address for the College of Engineering and Science ceremony, Bill Bailey Jr., Electrical Engineering,’87, focused on the three Ps of success – preparation, perspiration, and providence.
“Throughout my career, I have worked with people from every renowned university, and I was always prepared,” Bailey said. “I know you know how to do the grind -– you learned that here -– and do it well. But remember that planning is just a point of departure.
“Give providence a chance. So many things happen you didn’t plan on. You have to change your plans, but providence favors hard work and preparation.”
Boston Scott, Tech’s 2020 Young Alumni of the Year and 2017 graduate in Kinesiology and Health Promotion, advised graduates to be grateful to those who were instrumental in their getting to the finish line with a college degree.
Scott said the Tech Family -– the university’s unique culture –- served as a driver for him and other Bulldogs in their efforts while in college.
“This culture has inspired us to achieve,” Scott said. “That medal you will soon get represents those tenets that are and always should be a part of our lives. Be loyal to those people who deserve and have earned your loyalty.”
Scott went on to advise the graduates to use the Tenets of Tech as their “why” in life.
Alumnae of the Year Cathi Cox-Boniol, ’82, ’83, and ’92 graduate in the College of Education, delivered the second speech for the College of Liberal Arts ceremony. In it, she called Louisiana Tech University “the most transformative force in my life” outside of faith and family.
“Never forget the investment that has been made into your lives through your years at Louisiana Tech University,” Cox-Boniol said. “You have been equipped and you have been empowered to achieve the highest levels of success. You are a Bulldog through and through.”
Dr. Bob Cunningham,’73, ’85, and ’96 graduate, delivered the commencement address for the College of Business. He focused on the changes -– and similarities –- between the Tech of his undergraduate days and the Louisiana Tech of today.
“Race and racism were stories when I went to Tech, and the struggle for equality continues today,” Cunningham said. “But you saw a very different campus than I did. All students come here with hopes and dreams to achieve a better life. As a young man growing up in a segregated environment, I was defined by my race. When I came to Tech, I began to learn this label limited me -– it was only one aspect of my life.
“I refused to be limited by the narrative that I was a victim. I began to see myself as a victor.”
At Tech, Cunningham found support, caring, and passion at a time when racial unrest was happening in the United States, and he said he continues to see this support for students today.
“The challenge we have is to leave this world better than we found it and embrace the inherent worth of all human beings,” Cunningham said. “I challenge you to take control of the narrative you are writing about your life. In this politically charged environment, there are many voices telling you what to think. Politically, socially, and even spiritually, what you come to think is entirely up to you.
“Remember that opportunity is alive and well in America –- not just for black people, but for all people.”
Commencement ceremonies for the College of Applied and Natural Sciences and the College of Education also benefited from the experience of two Tech graduates as their speakers.
Jeremy M. Tinnerello, Nursing, ’98, reminded graduates that they should both listen to and depend on others to deal with trials.
“Creative ideas come from everywhere,” Tinnerello said. “Your team around you can help you achieve your goals, and the Tenets can help you find creative solutions to your goals.”
A College of Education graduate in ’68 and ’72, Jean Hall delivered the second commencement address of the Sunday ceremonies. He built on Tinnerello’s message of collaboration for graduates.
“The goal through my career is to be a positive influence on students; they’ve certainly had a positive impact on me,” Hall said. “I hope that sometime in your career someone will say, ‘You have changed my life.’”