As president of the Northwestern State University Alumni Association, I recently had the distinct honor of helping present class rings to the graduating seniors. Before joining university president Dr. Chris Maggio in the presentation, I was asked to share some reflections as they prepare to receive their baccalaureate degrees.
Congratulations on making it to this point. Graduating college isn’t some small accomplishment in 2019 — you don’t need me to tell you that. So let’s be real about this moment. This is cause for celebration!
Over the coming weeks and months, you’re going to get a lot of advice from friends, family, speakers, and mentors. Much of it you won’t even have asked for.
I encourage you to make a conscious effort to be open to it. Actively listen. Like throwing spaghetti against the wall — get a feel for anything that sticks. When their wisdom moves you, something sparks a thought or touches your heart — write it down or put it in your phone and reflect on it regularly.
Despite what you may think about the last four years — today is one of the most important moments of your life. Now is the time where you take stock of your past and decide what your future holds. You decide who you’re going to be and what purpose you hold. Graduation isn’t the finish line.
I want to pass along the profound advice I received as I was graduating from NSU. It came in the form of a proverb that continues to resonate with me. It’s my “why.”
I often reflect on this quote — “The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
It’s so true. When I think about the events in life that mean the most to me, someone likely helped me get to that point.
I’ve had some incredible experiences and professional accomplishments since I graduated with a degree in journalism in 2008. And it’s so easy to trace well-defined line of individuals who continue to guide me in chasing my dreams.
Finding a cause to be passionate about changes you. It absolutely brings meaning to every day you walk on this good Earth.
So if you’re already thinking of “What do I have to offer? How can I help?” Let me give you a suggestion — giving back to your alma mater is the gift that keeps giving.
So as you step out into the real world and life takes on a dramatically different form — be intentional about paying it forward in life. You’ll reap the rewards without ever realizing it.
By now I hope you can easily visualize how NSU has played a role in changing the course of your life. A degree, opportunities, friendships.
Become a member of the NSU Alumni Association and get in touch with preserving your unique legacy at NSU — a way to enrich the experience of a future student, to remain loyal to old Normal, and make this a relationship that isn’t just four years — but for life.
That’s loyalty — which happens to be the theme so fittingly illustrated by the last word of our alma mater.
I learned so much about loyalty through my friendship with former university president, the late Dr. Randy Webb. When I was a student I hosted a weekly TV show with him on NSU TV for several years. I spent a lot of time in his office. One day I asked him about a glass-shaped heart he kept on his desk. It was given to him by longtime Dean of Women, Lucile Hendrick. She said it represented the Webb family’s history and devotion to Northwestern. The heart was a deep purple. Dr. Webb said it was a reminder of his love for the university and inspired him to always keep Old Normal in his heart.
What simple actions can you take today to have a major impact for someone else? Start thinking about what you’re planning to do to give back, to show your support for NSU.
So I ask you now, what color is your heart and will people know by your actions?
Fork ‘em Demons!
Sharing that evening with students, both young and older, was a touching reminder of the many blessings that have come from my relationship with Northwestern State University.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Gray Television. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2019 Lane Luckie