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Riley delivers commencement

address at Troy State

By BETH LAKEY

Staff Writer

More than 230 students who received degrees from Troy State University on Friday were urged to use their education not only to build careers, but also to serve others.

U.S. Rep. Bob Riley, R-Ashland, was the keynote speaker at TSU’s summer commencement ceremony held at Sartain Hall.

"When I got out of college, I thought I had done well just to get out," Riley told the graduates.

"Each one of you has the capability to come up with the next idea that improves humanity."

That is how Riley defined success for the graduates.

"Success is the ability to take knowledge and help the less fortunate," said the man who represents Alabama’s Third Congressional District.

"One of the most powerful things in the world is an idea. Ideas come from knowledge and knowledge comes from education."

Good ideas are not enough, though, Riley added. It takes perseverance to succeed and make the world a better place.

"You’re about to enter a world like no other graduation class has in the history of man," Riley told the graduates.

Just eight years ago, few had heard of the Internet, which, now, connects Troy State’s main campus to students around the world.

As a matter of fact, the 230 graduates included seven U.S. Navy officers who were the first to graduate from a special distance-learning program. The Navy Executive Master of Business Administration program is taught exclusively via the Internet to officers stationed around the world.

"We have changed the dynamics of education," said Riley, who has served in Congress since 1996 and is seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for governor in the 2002 primaries.

And, with change, comes the kind of opportunity he urged them to take.

Jack Hawkins Jr., chancellor, told the graduates they should make the most of their education and he is "confident" TSU has prepared them for the future.

"Each of you graduating today will have an opportunity to make a difference and I urge you to embrace this role," Hawkins said.

Dr. Hawkins also told the crowd that TSU is proud of its latest national recognition. Troy State University was recently designated by the Kaplan/Newsweek survey as one of 70 "best value" universities in the nation. The same survey also designated TSU as one of only 27 universities defined as "hidden treasures." According to Newsweek, a hidden treasure is "a terrific university that deserves more national recognition."

One hundred and fifty-five students received bachelors degrees and 81 received graduate degrees during Friday’s ceremony.

The graduating class also included the first 12 Troy State University students to earn the master of science in sport and fitness management degree. TSU is the only public university in Alabama offering a graduate degree in sport and fitness management.