COLUMBUS, Miss. – Mississippi University for Women conferred approximately 400 degrees at its recently held commencement ceremonies. The university ends its academic year having conferred approximately 900 degrees, the largest number in its history.
Graduates heard words of encouragement from two of the state’s leaders, including Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves and Mississippi Sen. Sally Doty in Rent Auditorium, Whitfield Hall, this past weekend.
To an audience filled with mostly nursing students, Reeves noted that life’s most important lessons could be boiled down quite simply: “Work hard, remember your family and give back.”
He added that there would be roadblocks ahead, but encouraged graduates to not let anyone put up roadblocks to their success.
Reflecting on his campaign and successful bid as state treasurer, Reeves noted that he was only 29-years-old, and he ran into a lot of doubters while traveling around the state.
“Please always remember with hard work, with determination and with a little bit of sweat equity, you can reach your goals. You can do anything in life that you set your mind to,” he said.
Reeves also reminded the graduates to remember the loved ones who have helped them get to where they are.
“Don’t forget a well-rounded life means taking time for your family,” he added.
In his final words, Reeves urged the graduates to give back to their communities. “The careers you have chosen will certainly have a positive impact on your community,” he said.
He also encouraged his listeners to be active Mississippians and make a difference by opening a new business, going into teaching, running for public office volunteering.
“Many of you serve as outstanding examples of the importance of staying in school of finding your passion and pursuing your dreams. You know how difficult it can be to get to this point,” Reeves said. “You are the messengers that we need to encourage our young people to stay in school and find their passion. You are a part of the solution.”
At the afternoon ceremony Sen. Doty, who is also a W alum, asked the graduates to stay in Mississippi and use their education, talents and energy to help move the state forward.
“We cannot deny that we’ve had some problems in the past in our state, but we can all work toward a shared future of respect and growing prosperity for our citizens.”
Doty said Mississippi needs the graduates to help tell her story, referring to famous Mississippi writers such as William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and alumna Eudora Welty.
“What will be the story of your life? Will it be a thriller, a comedy, a love story, a story of overcoming odds? Whatever your story is, I guarantee that it will make some unexpected twists and turns,” she said.
Despite the twists and turns that may arise, Doty said the education that the students have earned at The W has laid a strong foundation and a story for them for them to share.
In addition, she encouraged the graduates to take risks and make a difference, noting the possibility of future legislators, school board members and leaders of chambers of commerce and PTA associations sitting in the audience.
“We need all of those things, and we know that you will be the ones to step up into those positions,” Doty said.
“I look forward to the next chapters of your story, and I know that you are ready to be the next generation of leaders in our state and beyond. You are ready to step up to the challenges that life has to offer,” she added.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 17, 2017
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins