Thursday, May 24, 2007
Speaker advises Rust graduates to shun mediocrity, seek excellence
By JEFF JONES
It often takes a fiery speaker at any commencement occasion to excite the graduating class and the audience.
Rev. Dr. Jerry Young, the keynote speaker at the 141st commencement at Rust College, did just that, Sunday, April 29, and received an appreciative ovation from both.
Young, president of the General Missionary Baptist State Convention in Mississippi, and the pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, Jackson, explained to the graduates the difference between being successful and being excellent. He told the graduates to not be satisfied with mediocrity but to make a commitment to be excellent.
“Success is when your accomplishments are outstanding and significant; excellence on the other hand, is striving for being the best,” he said. “When you’re your best, you don’t have to be equal in ability but equal in efforts. You have no excuses for failure.”
The Rust alum (’74) shared an inspiring story of how he overcame the odds as he pursued his education at the college.
“I came to Rust poor, without good ACT scores, from great poverty, and some people even wrote me off that I would never make it out of the Delta,” Young said.
Now getting into the preacher mode with his voice slowly easing into a modulating pitch, Young began to offer his audience his basic four ‘Ds’ recipe for success in their pursuit of career goals.
These include desire, dedication, determination and discipline. He emphasized that desire is a necessary component for success; however, the graduates will need to have the drive that goes with it in order to maximize it. Coupled with desire is the determination “to make your dreams and visions reality,” said Young.
“You must decide who you are; you must discover who you are to achieve excellence, and then you must have the dedication to enhance your potential. You must have the desire to maximize your dedication.”
He added that one must also have discipline and develop good habits to attain success.
“You will not achieve excellence by accident, but by determination, dedication, desire, and discipline,” he told the 138 graduates.
President David L. Beckley later presented Young with the 25th Tower of Leadership Award, a crystal vase that symbolizes a millennial achievement by the recipient for selfless service to the college and the community, and living up to the Rust challenge… “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them.”
Jeff Jones is the campus associate editor of The Rustorian.
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