West Liberty, W.Va., May 13, 2017 — It was a beautiful, spring morning as West Liberty University President Dr. Stephen Greiner presided over commencement exercises held at 11 a.m., Saturday, May 13, 2017.
The ceremony, held in in the Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex (ASRC), began with the National Anthem performed by the West Liberty Singers. Three-hundred and forty-three completed graduation requirements during the spring semester.
Graduating student speaker was Alexander Gordon of Wheeling, who earned a degree in music technology from the College of Arts and Communication. Compiling a 4.0 cumulative GPA, he spoke on success and achievement.
But he began with a joke explaining that being at the podium wasn’t unusual for him since, as a home-schooled student prior to college, he was always at the top of his class. He then described everyday student achievements that are challenging but often overlooked.
“We didn’t drop out, we crammed for class, found parking spaces on campus and so many other little things that are not mentioned. But it’s these little things in life that make it enjoyable,” Gordon said. “Remember that the best experiences we can have in life is when we share our joy of living with the rest of the world.”
Gordon concluded by proclaiming his pride in being a Hilltopper and saying, “Everyone said we could not … we pressed on and said we could. We will continue to do so. Our greatest enemy is our perceived limitations and our own self-doubt.”
Wheeling Mayor Glenn F. Elliott, Jr., next was presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by President Greiner, prior to delivering the commencement address.
Elliott was elected to office last May. A native of the Ohio Valley, he also is an attorney and formerly served as a legislative assistant for U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd.
After a brief and amusing description of his life, the mayor turned to the graduates and their lives.
“You are about to pass through a major milestone and enter the next phase of your life. So today is kind of a big deal in which I’ve been tasked with offering some words of wisdom for your consideration. So taking into account my aforementioned confession and disclaimer, let me try to distill my message today into three simple, discrete ideas. Are you ready?
His first idea was to “Step outside your comfort zone,” explaining the value in trying new things especially travel.
“Let’s get on to my second suggestion, which is simply this: Whatever you end up doing in life, let kindness be the polar star that guides your daily actions and decisions,” he said suggesting that, “Twenty years from now, you will be more likely to regret failures of kindness in these situations than efforts you made to be a decent human being.”
The third idea he presented was to “engage your community.”
“It’s not lost upon me that here at West Liberty, one of your five core values is just that: civic engagement. Wherever your careers and pursuits take you, wherever you hang that fancy diploma you receive today, you must never forget your opportunity and obligation to be a part of your community,” he said.
He concluded by saying, “I couldn’t be more excited for the opportunities that lie ahead of you. I wish you all the best of luck.”
The Commencement Ceremony was televised live on WLU-TV 14 (Comcast Channel 14 and online at wltvonline.com and will be rebroadcast over the weekend.
A reception for graduates, guests and families immediately followed the ceremony and was held in the College Union.
West Liberty University is a forward-looking, four-year public university steeped in a rich heritage as West Virginia’s oldest institution of higher education. Five colleges and a School of Professional Studies offer nearly 70 undergraduate majors and 30 programs. Graduate programs include the Master of Arts in Education, the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies, the Master of Professional Studies, the Master of Science in Criminology and the online MBA degrees. For more information on WLU, please call 1.866.WESTLIB or visit westliberty.edu.