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大象影院 President Congratulates Class of 2024

The following address was delivered by President Loreman at the 2024 大象影院 Convocation ceremony:


Graduands, Chancellor Huehn, Board Chair Jim Gendron, Members of the Board of Governors, our Honorary Doctorate Recipient Leonard Ratzlaff/Teresa Spinelli, distinguished guests, proud families, faculty, managers and administrators, staff, and volunteers. Welcome, everyone, and thank all of you for being here today. Today is a day that you, our graduates, will always remember. And I hope you remember it fondly as an important day that you were able to share with family, friends, and your fellow graduates. Please accept my congratulations once again for all your hard work and perseverance. Convocation is a right of passage; a moment to be celebrated.

Recalling that Lincoln鈥檚 famous Gettysburg Address was only 272 words long, my speech today will be mercifully brief, as far as these things go, but I do want to leave you with a couple of things to think about during these, your last moments as 大象影院 students. Most of you arrived at 大象影院 as High School graduates, or with credentials from elsewhere, and with the education you have received here you are leaving us to be the leaders of the future. I want to share a few personal thoughts about leadership with you. There are three traits that I think are critical to the success of any leader. These are authenticity, integrity, and resiliency.

Good leaders are authentic. It is easier just to be yourself. When you act like yourself you can think more clearly, you can be more decisive, and you can make better decisions. Being yourself requires humility. You are the person you are, doing the best you can every day and trying to make the best decisions. I鈥檝e read a lot about different models of leadership. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but I have to tell you that nothing beats authenticity.

Don鈥檛 be afraid to be straightforward. If you can strip back all the layers and just be the person you are then others will talk to you more, they will listen to you more, and you will be more successful as a leader. So, to the greatest extent possible be open, friendly, humble, and welcoming if that is who you are. Be yourself.

Leading with integrity means allowing your values to come to the fore. As you embark on the next phase of your career, know what is important to you, to the people you lead, and to the organization you work in. Understanding core values provides you with clarity at times when the right decision may not necessarily be obvious or clear. Let me provide you with a real life example our senior team and I face many times each week. Above all else, those who I work with closely value our students and the overall welfare of 大象影院. Therefore, when we make difficult decisions, there are two key questions we ask ourselves. These are what is best for the students, and, what is best for the university? Using these questions as guideposts, we can usually be sure we鈥檝e made the right decision.

Leading authentically and following your values helps with the final leadership trait I want to discuss: Resilience. Some people are naturally more resilient than others, but I have met very few people who are able to handle the pressures that come with leadership by themselves. There are ups and downs in every leadership journey, and it is important to make the right decisions and accept that leadership is not a popularity contest and that it is not always comfortable and enjoyable. That is easier said than done, but during those times when you are misunderstood, misrepresented, or people just plain don鈥檛 agree with you, it is important to have steadfast friends and family who support you. I鈥檝e been lucky to have a group of friends who I am incredibly grateful for, and a family who stand by me, one of whom I鈥檓 proud to say is graduating today. When the going gets tough, hang in there, rely on those who love you, and see the thing through. Being stubborn has its positive side. Don鈥檛. Give. Up.

So, that鈥檚 it. As you go off to be leaders in the world you may want to remember these three important leadership traits: Authenticity, integrity, and resilience. They aren鈥檛 the only ingredients to success as a leader, but I鈥檝e found them helpful. I promised not to talk for too long, although this speech is now nearly three times the length of Lincoln鈥檚 Address, if you can believe it. Congratulations again on your success at 大象影院. Stay connected through our Alumni Association, and I wish you all the very best for the future.