Ed Mayes Elliott, president emeritus of Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, told UT Martin spring graduates their career opportunities will be numerous, but the -reality is that many of their career options are not yet on the corporate, entrepreneurial or business radar screens.-
Elliott, a mentor and former colleague to UT Martin Chancellor Philip W. Conn, spoke to more than 500 graduates during the 11 a.m. commencement ceremony Saturday (May 13) in the Kathleen and Tom Elam Center.
-Yes, indeed your future does seem bright and, that future, no matter who you are and what you intend for your life, will almost unavoidably involve new challenges from our electronic, high tech world – the Internet, the World Wide Web, browsers and servers and – Dot Com, Dot Net, Dot EDU, Dot Org, Dot Whatever tomorrow or this afternoon brings.-
Elliott said the changes over the last decade have been stunning, but we shouldn-t be overly impressed with what the technology gurus of society have accomplished.
-As an educator and parent, I am more convinced today than ever before that in these times of -faster than a speeding bullet- technological changes, our communities will need commitments from your generation – from you personally – to forge the changes in our society that will keep America prosperous, free and spiritually well grounded,- Elliott said.
Elliott said people are expressing desires for governmental, business and community leaders who are honest, caring, compassionate and nurturing, and who are willing to accept and
practice values that underpin family and societal stability, just as much as they are willing to work hard to make a good living economically.
Elliott offered 10 -very simple observations- that lend themselves to the desired leadership traits and community building.
-First, make a commitment to do what needs to be done up front and foremost for family, church and education – the institutions that are the pillars of our society,- Elliott said.
The other observations included self-discipline, the ability to take risks; provide quality effort; commit to being creative and dream; always be honest and ethical; work and play well with others; commit to staying informed and being flexible; enhance your community; and have some fun in life.
-We are confident you have the talent and ability to meet and exceed the challenges you will face in your life and its multiple careers, and we know you have within your grasp the means to make significant improvements to our already fantastic United States of America,- Elliott said.
Conn presided over the exercises and conferred the degrees. The commencement ceremony was the last time Phillip W. Watkins participated in the official capacity as vice chancellor for student affairs.
Watkins retirement is effective May 31. He has served as an educator and administrator at UT Martin, his alma mater, for the past 36 years.