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    Posted April 18, 2014 by
    cary, North Carolina
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    As many of you probably already know, Sean “Diddy” Combs has been selected to be the commencement speaker at the graduation ceremony for Howard University this spring. You may also know that there is a bit of an uproar over this decision.


    There is a protest of sorts among a contingent of HU students and alumni who believe that Diddy shouldn’t be allowed to serve as commencement speaker because he didn’t graduate college.


    I’ve seen numerous comments shared on social media from supporters and detractors. I’ve heard and participated in the discussion myself with friends, colleague’s and family.


    I will present the same question to all of you that I pose to those that I’ve participated in this discussion with; what is the purpose of the commencement speech?


    This question is of particular relevance to me as I have been presented with the honor to deliver the commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class of DeVry University, Raleigh-Durham campus. Although I graduated from DeVry (Decatur, GA campus), I am not doing anything close to my field of electrical engineering. What I am doing through Tru Access though, is living out my dream.


    I believe that the most important message that I can and will share with the 2014 graduates is the importance of never giving up on your dreams. As corny and/or cliché as that may sound, it’s one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned on my success journey.


    This brings me back to the whole purpose of the commencement speech. A commencement speech is an opportunity for a notable and/or accomplished figure to share his or her experience, principles, values and advice with the graduating class.


    As I look at this current millennial generation and what it will require for them to be successful in their careers and in life, that list extends much further than simply being a college graduate.


    Millennials, hear me loud and clear when I tell you that education is important. I also want you to know that education comes in many forms and someone like Diddy, who has accomplished the things that he has accomplished in pursuit of his dream, is a wealth of knowledge.


    According to research, millennials represent the most educated generation in American history. That same research also shows that the millennial generation represents the highest share of youth and young adult unemployment in almost four decades.


    Academic achievement is one very important ingredient in a recipe of several important ingredients to achieving success.


    If the purpose of the commencement speech is to identify an accomplished and aspirational success figure to reinforce the importance of education and inspire future leaders to pursue their dreams, then here are 3 reasons why Diddy fits the bill.


    1. He reinforces the importance of on going education even after college and adopting a consistent practice of self-education to achieve your goals.


    2. He represents an important message to this generation that a degree alone isn’t enough, but it’s how you apply what you learn.


    3. His success story represents the importance of hard work and never giving up on your dreams and the ability to rise above your circumstances.


    It’s time we start more effectively preparing our future leaders with all the necessary ingredients for success beyond just the academics.

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