Dr. George Griffith, Chadron State College professor of English and humanities, reassured the institution’s master’s degree graduates of the value of their degrees while delivering their commencement address Friday afternoon, Dec. 14.
Griffith, who in his 37thyear at CSC has been employed longer than any other faculty member, interspersed humor and sincerity while addressing the class of 67 graduates in Memorial Hall.
The professor noted that compared to the undergraduate class, which received degrees later that afternoon, members of the master’s degree group are mostly older, more mature and already have jobs and families.
“I can’t see a single ‘Hi, Mom’ taped on top of any mortarboards, and I’d probably be safe to bet beneath those gowns not one of you is wearing shorts and sandals,” he said in the opening remarks of his eight-minute speech.
Griffith commended the graduates for mastering new skills, obtaining knowledge and developing open minds during their pursuit of education. He also said the graduates have developed valuable confidence while accomplishing a master’s degree while dealing with the distractions of life as adults.
“Many of you earned these degrees while your life insisted on going on indifferent to your having to write papers, read books, participate in online discussions, fulfill projects and take tests.”
The graduates were awarded one of CSC’s four master’s degrees – Master of Arts in Education, Master of Business Administration, Master of Education and Master of Science in Organizational Management. Each which will repay the graduates for their hard work well into the future, Griffith said.
“You may have now one of education’s greatest gifts, which is not answers, but questions,” he said. “Can we name any important human achievement that was not the product of a question?”
In addition to addressing the intangibles, Griffith cited 2009 U.S. Census Bureau statistics about the value of higher education. The report, he noted, states that master’s degree recipients will earn $1.3 million more in their lifetime than those with just a high school diploma.
“With some good fortune, someone will still need you and this degree will still feed you when you are 64,” he said, making a reference to the lyrics to a classic Beatles tune.
In closing, Griffith encouraged the graduates to take pride in their accomplishments, but to be most thankful for their family.
“No matter what this job may do for you in your employment, your job is not your life,” he said. “Jobs don’t hug you or surprise you. They don’t laugh or cry with you. They don’t share memories or tell stories. Your family is there for you for that.”
—Justin Haag, CSC Information Services