‘Dean Kacz’ focuses on planning, preparation and promise in keynote to Tech’s newest graduates

Dr. Donald P. Kaczvinsky reminded Louisiana Tech University’s newest group of graduates of the unpredictable nature of life and the promise that accompanies their new journeys in his keynote address during Saturday’s commencement exercises.

Earlier Saturday morning, Kaczvinsky was named Dean Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Professor Emeritus. He has served as Dean of the College since 2011 and will retire Sept. 1.

“You and I have something in common,” Kaczvinsky said. “We share the anticipation of the future not at Louisiana Tech. … You and I have several more lives to live.”

College is an investment designed to pay off in more ways than money, Kaczvinsky said. The rewards for hard work and perseverance will benefit the graduates’ personal and professional lives.

“I was a first-generation student,” Kaczvinsky said. “College was a transformative experience. It gave me four years to make deliberate choices, cultivate habits, develop skills for professional life. It forces you to put in the hard work and hit your deadlines, or you don’t pass.”

Kaczvinsky reminded graduates that their planning and preparation could result in different outcomes than expected.

“You must be open to accident and chance,” Kaczvinsky said. “You often change paths, hit dead ends, or take the side route before you find your way. But once you find your proper path, you must put in your time and do the work.”

He also advised the graduates to acknowledge the contributions of those who accompanied them on their college journeys.

“You’ve not walked this path alone. No one can,” Kaczvinsky said. “Those friends and family who are out here today have actually been with you on your journey. I am certain the people who have gathered here today to celebrate your achievement have acted out of the most elemental of human motives, love.”

Kaczvinsky earned his BA from Providence College (1982) in Rhode Island, his MA from the University of Virginia (1984), and his PhD from Penn State (1989), all in English. He came to Louisiana Tech in 1990 as an Assistant Professor, specializing in 20th Century British Literature.

He has written or edited three books, published more than 20 essays or book chapters, and given over 40 presentations at professional conferences. His scholarly work has focused on British and Irish novelists, such as Lawrence Durrell, James Joyce, Alasdair Gray, and Graham Swift.

In recognition of his achievements at Tech, Kaczvinsky received the 2007 University Foundation Professorship Award for Excellence in Teaching, Research, and Service, and, in 2008, was named the George E. Pankey Eminent Scholar in English.

In its 341st commencement exercises, Louisiana Tech awarded degrees to 304 graduates.


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