CHADRON – More than 200 Chadron State College graduates were recognized during two Winter Commencement ceremonies Friday. Dr. Rob Stack, professor of mathematics, spoke to the master’s degree recipients while Judge Russell Harford addressed undergraduates.
Undergraduate commencement included an opening moment of reflection by Kevin Coy Jr. of Davenport, Florida, and a closing moment of reflection by Torri Brumbaugh of Gering, Nebraska. One hundred and fifty-nine students received their diplomas.
Also, Army ROTC Cadet Samuel Vanderheiden received his commission as a 2nd Lt. in the Nebraska Army National Guard. He will be based in his hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska, in the Engineer Branch.
Gabrielle Michna of Chadron delivered the opening moment of reflection and Justin Trout of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, gave the closing moment of reflection at the graduate ceremony. Seventy-nine students received their diplomas.
Stack interspersed his affinity for math into his Graduate Commencement speech.
“Studies have shown that after you have done an activity 10,000 times, it becomes a habit. ‘Thank you.’ Practice saying it, say it as many times as needed, maybe 10,000 times so it becomes a habit. It will be ingrained in your personality and those around you will definitely notice,” he said.
Stack distributed an envelope to each graduate containing one his favorite sayings from a fortune cookie, “If you speak honestly, everyone will listen,” and a $2 bill.
“Speak, and when you speak, speak honestly. Speak sincerely. Support everyone around you. They most certainly have supported you. Now, more than ever, it makes sense to do this. Immerse yourself in the people around you. Seize every opportunity to serve others. You will be a better person for doing that,” Stack said.
He explained several reasons why the $2 bill was significant.
“This $2 bill goes beyond more than just the value of the piece of paper you’re holding. This $2 bill is as unique as yourself. See this $2 bill as the first of many monetary attainments because of your master’s degree,” Stack said.
Stack counseled the graduates to consider the importance of listening.
“Lead by listening to everyone around you. Just as your path has been unique, everyone, likewise, has their own unique story. Take the time to listen to those stories. Learn from those around you,” Stack said.
At the undergraduate ceremony, Harford encouraged the graduates to discover the meanings of success and happiness.
“Going forward, you already have the tools in your toolbox to be successful. You just need to continue to use those tools,” Harford said. “Successful is a subjective concept and so is happiness. What makes someone successful, to me, might be completely different from your idea of successful. The same for happiness. What makes you happy may be different from what makes the person sitting beside you happy.”
He explained that taking calculated risks is tied to success. He described leaving a secure job with the Nebraska State Patrol as a young husband and father of three to enroll in law school.
“I wouldn’t be here today had I not taken risks in my career. You shouldn’t discontinue taking risks just because one does not work,” he said.
Along with taking risks, Harford suggested graduates should get involved in their communities to help enrich their lives and their careers.
“Joining a service organization, being active in your church, holding a public office, being involved in volunteer organizations, or being part of organizations at graduate or professional schools can have a tremendous impact. You will feel a sense of belonging and make contacts with people that ultimately could be your employer, or could serve as references for a future career,” Harford said.
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