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Moving forward

A large gathering of families and friends attended the Summer Commencement Exercises of Troy University on Friday, July 23, 2010 at Sartain Hall on the campus of Troy University.

Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. said that graduation day is the most important day at the university.

And, for the 250 Troy University graduates and their families, July 23, 2010, was a most important day.

The graduates sat a bit wide-eyed as they listened to the Chancellor’s challenges to them ��� “Serve your community,” Hawkins said. “Don’t be stagnant. Make your diploma more valuable than it is today and be active alumni. And, embrace life.”

Hawkins quoted John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach, “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”

The Chancellor’s final challenge to the 2010 Troy University summer graduates was to strive to live “perfect days.”

The commencement address was given by Ralph Buffkin, director of human resources, information technology and payroll at the Mobile County Sheriff’s Department in Mobile.

Buffkin told the graduates that, in 1953, he was in an orphanage and that education made all the difference in his life.

“Education and opportunities are the keys to success,” he said, challenging the graduates to always strive for more and not to be satisfied with a bachelor’s degree, “get a master’s degree” and not to be satisfied with that, “get a doctoral degree.”

“Nike said, ‘Just do it’ but I say, it’s all about finishing,” Buffkin said. “If you start something, finish it.”

Buffkin also encouraged the graduates to have faith in a power greater than themselves.

“Every morning before I do anything else, I ask God to guide me and, at night, I say a prayer of thanks for all that He has done for me and for what He has given me,” Buffkin said.

He then challenged the graduates to reach out with their talents.“Be passionate about helping others,” he said. “Respect each other. It can’t be about ‘me’ if you are a part of a team. Have confidence in yourself, faith in a power greater than yourself, respect others and maintain grit and determination but, through it all, be humble.

Don’t pursue glory. Pursue excellence. And, use these three most important words often, ‘I love you.’ That’s so very important. And I love

you.”