Tuskegee University holds 2012 summer commencement ceremonies

8/5/2012


   
 

More than 50 degrees were awarded
during commencement exercises.
 

 

 

 

Lt. General Willie J. Williams, U.S.
Marine Corps staff director.

 

 

 

Tuskegee University President
Gilbert L. Rochon presents
Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams with
the Presidential Leadership Award
to recognize his exemplary service
to the United States.
 

TUSKEGEE, Ala. (August 4, 2012) — Graduates were encouraged to persevere through difficulty and stand by their moral principles during trying times in the address given by Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams, U.S. Marine Corps staff director, at today’s summer graduation exercises in the University Chapel.

“As tough as things might seem, I am convinced that you are even tougher,” Williams told the graduates. “We have history to prove it. There’s a history of Tuskegee that’s proved it for you.”

Degrees were awarded to 59 graduates during the second summer commencement presided over by Tuskegee University President Gilbert L. Rochon. During introductory remarks, Rochon said it was fitting to have a speaker such as Williams because the university has recently hosted several prominent military leaders such as Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the 18th chairman of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rochon also hailed the military contributions of the university and its graduates.

“Given our own illustrious history, both with a ROTC program for army, air force, navy and marines that has contributed to this country more generals and admirals than any other college in the United States who are African-American,” Rochon said.

Write your own history

Williams said graduates of Tuskegee have a background rooted in history and excellence that will help prepare them to face the world. But, he said it is up to the graduates to define their own destinies and to write their own histories. Calling the graduates “the next generation of leaders,” Williams told them that it was important to realize that they are not automatically entitled to anything, but must be confident and work hard.

Williams also urged the graduates to be proactive in achieving their goals and finding success and to not be discouraged by personal adversity. He said many have come before to fight for the freedoms and privileges enjoyed by Americans today, but that it is important for the graduates to earn success rather than expect it to be given to them.

“The constitution of the United States guarantees us three things: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Williams said. “I’ll just remind you that pursuit is a verb, an action verb.”

Williams said the graduates were the torchbearers for the next generation who will pick up where their predecessors stopped.

“The world needs what you, Tuskegee Class of 2012, have to offer,” Williams said. “America needs you to look inside yourself and see greatness.”

Remarks were also made by Gregory S. Gray, dean of the University Chapel, Antonio Minifield, president of the Student Government Association, and Peter Spears, dean of students, administered the alumni oath to the new graduates. After the conferral of degrees, Rochon presented Williams with the Presidential Leadership Award to recognize his exemplary service to the United States.

Commissioning ceremony

On Friday, three members of the Tuskegee University Army ROTC were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army in a ceremony at Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Museum.

Williams, the guest speaker, told the commission candidates to always strive to do what is right, but to not be afraid of making mistakes.

“There is no doubt in my mind that you are ready. Tuskegee has prepared and made you so. And I just ask that you lead them well, they deserve nothing less than your very best."

The newly commissioned officers are: Julius Murphy a construction science management major from Riverdale, Ga.; Louis Russell, an accounting major from Augusta, Ga.; and Tieka Wilkins, an accounting major from Montgomery, Ala.



On Friday, three members of the Tuskegee University Army ROTC were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army in a ceremony at Gen. Daniel “Chappie” James Museum. From the left: Lt. Col. Robbie Cross, Tuskegee University military science professor; Julius Murphy, Tieka Wilkins, Louis Russell and Lt. Gen. Willie J. Williams.


© Tuskegee University


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