Courtesy of UT Martin University Relations
MARTIN (November 21) – UT Martin Chancellor Dr. Keith Carver presided over the morning ceremony, delivered the commencement address and conferred degrees Saturday as the university hosted multiple graduation events throughout the day. For his remarks, Carver referenced speaking at a commencement ceremony several years ago at this alma mater. That commencement marked 20 years since his own graduation from college. “Looking back, I realized how much I had learned in those 20 years, so I’ve decided to share 10 of those life lessons with you, today’s Skyhawk graduates,” he said. “Let’s call this ‘10 Things I Wish I’d Known 20 Years Ago.’”
He began by noting the importance of personal decision-making. “Every decision in life you make impacts someone else,” Carver said. “Think about the implications of every choice you make.” He talked the importance of working in a job setting as a team and how “idle talk is useless in the workplace and the communities.”
Still referencing a work setting, he advised the graduates to, “Take tasks off your boss’s desk every time you can. Leadership is a lonely activity, and to those men and women who we serve in the workplace, (they) have numerous demands on their time, and they need to find people that they can trust. Become someone worthy of that trust.”
He spoke about the importance of humility and that everyone can be replaced. “No single person is essential to the success of an organization,” he said. “We will never be bigger than the organizations and workplaces that we serve.”
“Everybody has a first name,” he added. “All people have worth. All people deserve our respect. It is essential that we know those people around us who are investing in the success of our organization and in our own personal success. Get to know their interests, their joys and their pain.”
He urged the graduates to do their best in any task and, at the end of the day, to make their families a priority. “Dinner with your family is important. We’re all busy,” he said. “We will never complete all the tasks on our to-do lists each day.
“But it is essential that every day we do invest in those people that we love and that love us. The work will always be there. It’s important to build relationships with those who bring us renewal and joy, too.”
Carver closed his remarks as he had begun by noting the importance of making good choices. “When you don’t know what to do, remember to do no harm until you do,” he said. “Find good, trusted mentors and seek their counsel. Wisdom comes from careful reflection and life experience, so seek help from those who you trust when faced with difficult decisions.”
Also making appearances by video during each ceremony were the Rev. Amanda Crice, campus minister, UT Martin Wesley Foundation, who offered the opening invocation; UT President Randy Boyd, who brought greetings from the UT System; UT Martin Student Government Association President Hunter McCloud, of Portland, who offered congratulations from the student body; and UT Martin Alumni Association President Victor Andrews, a 1986 graduate from Franklin, Tenn., who welcomed the newest university graduates and urged them to stay connected with their alma mater. The ceremonies concluded with a performance of the alma mater by the UTM Virtual Choir, recorded and edited by Joseph Sam, 2010 UT Martin graduate.
Carver paused during the program to offer a moment of silence for UT Martin head men’s basketball coach Anthony Stewart who died November 15. His son Parker, a member of the Skyhawk basketball team, participated in the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony where he was recognized for earning his Master of Business Administration degree, which will be his second UT Martin diploma.