Words of Wisdom for Graduating Bearcats

Now that you’ve graduated, it’s a great time to reflect on what you’ve learned and can take with you as you approach the next chapter of your life. In the spirit of moving forward, McKendree’s faculty and staff have a few words of wisdom to share with you:

Jennifer Pickerell, Career Services

Forbes shared a quote by Ronald E. Osborn that says “To undertake something that is difficult; it will do you good.  Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.”  You are all doing this by pursuing your degree at McKendree University!  You came here to explore different career options, learn both inside and outside of the classroom, broaden your experiences, and for a variety of other reasons.  I encourage you to add new challenges and experiences in both your personal and professional life.  This may seem daunting at times, but you will enrich your life by taking that leap.  I also encourage you to be a person of great integrity.  A reputation is what others think of you, but integrity is what you know to be true, so be true to yourself as you go forward in life.  My last piece of advice is to be kind to yourself and others.  It is amazing the difference you can make in someone’s life by simply being kind.  Best wishes as you move forward in this journey called life!

Dr. Nichole DeWall, Professor of English

These words of wisdom come from my mother: “If you don’t feel compelled to write a thank-you card to someone every day, you’re not paying close enough attention.”

Dr. Tami Eggleston, Provost

Congrats on this important milestone and thank you for selecting McKendree University.  I hope you continue to make good decisions and make your mark on the world. Your graduation means that you have the ability to learn, prioritize, and make a commitment.  But now, you must learn some new skills—patience, flexibility, and improvisation.  As Stephen Colbert said, “Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next, and you are mostly just making things up as you go along."  But the good news is that what you have learned at McK will help you as you move forward.  Work hard, have fun, and trust that you will end up where you belong at the right time.  

Dr. Sara FrankDr. Sara (Trask) Frank, Associate Professor of Communications

Never apologize for being authentically you!

Dr. Joni Bastian, Vice President of Student Affairs

Graduation day is always a beautiful day whether it is raining or the sun is shining. It is our time to celebrate with our graduates and their families all of the accomplishments of each individual student.  We remember that each graduate has a story. Each graduate experienced successes and failures while at McKendree.  Each graduate found the courage to continue the journey and that is what counts!  As you move forward to the next chapter in your life, never stop learning and never stop appreciating the individuals who helped you become the person you are today. 

Dr. Kevin Zanelotti, Professor of Philosophy

Embrace failure as a necessary and positive feature of education. If you push yourself to gain new abilities or improve existing ones, there is always the possibility that you will stumble. Failures are inevitable, but failures provide the opportunity for self-analysis and growth. By failing we see the difference between who we are and who we yearn to be. So, take risks and avoid safety: take difficult classes and take on difficult projects. Failure can be your best friend. Safety is your worst enemy.

Congratulations, graduates, on the start of a brand-new chapter! Even though your time as a student at McKendree has come to an end, remember: once a Bearcat, always a Bearcat. Stay in touch with your alma mater as an alum – we can’t wait to see how you make your mark on the world!