Kouplen Inspires Graduates at OSUIT 212th Commencement Ceremony

Kouplen Inspires Graduates at OSUIT 212th Commencement Ceremony

Kouplen Inspires Graduates at OSUIT 212th Commencement Ceremony

OSU Institute of Technology graduated 250 students during its 212th commencement ceremony on April 19 at 2 p.m. in Covelle Hall. 

The students were welcomed to the ceremony with the sound of applause from spectators and music from the OSU Pipes & Drum. 

Dr. Bill Path, president of OSUIT, announced that of the 250 graduating students this spring, 59 percent graduated with honors. Of those honors graduates, 87 graduated Cum Laude, 37 graduated Magna Cum Laude, 23 Summa Cum Laude. 

The distinguished guests for the afternoon included four members of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural & Mechanical Colleges, chairman Calvin J. Anthony, vice chairman Tucker Link, Rick Davis and Dr. Trudy Milner. 

“This is a great day for all of us and to celebrate this milestone in your lives,” said Anthony. “On this occasion, we recognize how important OSUIT is to all of us. To the administration, faculty staff and students, the OSU Board of Regents says, ‘Thank you for a job well done.’”

“Graduates, we honor you this afternoon and we celebrate with you and your families. Congratulations on your achievement, I hope that you time here at OSUIT will include countless wonderful memories you will carry with you forever.”

Anthony recited Sir Winston Churchill’s answer to the difference between a pessimist and an optimist and wished the students hopes of being optimistic for their future. 

Dr. Path introduced the keynote speaker, Sean Kouplen, Oklahoma’s 10th Secretary of Commerce and Workforce Development, the Chairman & CEO of Regent Bank and a small business investor.

Kouplen, an OSU alumnus who grew up in Beggs, Oklahoma, shared stories of his best and worst times and the lessons learned through these. He had three key takeaways for the students and spectators that he found were common in successful people who left tremendous legacies; they focused on others more than themselves; they gave their best every day and they never gave up. 

He shared a story of a homebuilder who was having a tough time and received a request to build a home after months had gone by with no sale. After noticing that the buyer did not visit the job site, he decided to take a few short cuts to save money and make more profit. At the completion of the build, he sat with the buyer at the closing and realized the buyer had paid him to build his own home as a gesture of kindness.

“We have a building full of people who all build something every day, one day at a time, and it is your legacy,” said Kouplen. “Whether you want to build it or not, we all build it a day at a time.”

He ended with a poem about how the materialistic items in life do not matter, but the type of person you become does. 

“You all have the ability to change the trajectory of your family forever,” said Kouplen. “So, I say to you congratulations and to all of the families who supported you, congratulations, it’s an honor to be with you.”

Dr. Scott Newman, vice president of Academic Affairs introduced the student respondent, Zachary Wellman. Wellman was part of the graduating class for spring 2019 with an Associate in Applied Science in Industrial Maintenance Technologies - Natural Gas Compression from the School of Energy Technologies.

Wellman thanked President Path, Secretary Kouplen, OSU A&M Regents, distinguished guests, faculty and staff and family and friends.

“First, I’d like to thank the faculty in the Chesapeake Energy Natural Gas Compression Training Center. Without them I wouldn’t be here today; next, I’d like to thank the administration for providing this amazing learning environment. They’ve created a place where our futures are put first, I think we all can attest to the reputation that this school has.”

Wellman spoke to the excitement that graduation brings to all. “We are finally getting the chance to make the big decisions in our life and after graduation, we get to start making some real money. And for your friends and family attending today they get to see all the long hours of helping you get here today finally pay off. This next step in our life will be long and tiring but well worth it.”

He mentioned a life lesson and quote that has stood out to him throughout his education at OSUIT, “Do not let making a living prevent you from making a life.”

“We all came here with a set way of doing things. And hopefully during you time here you have grown and are leaving a little bit different from when you arrived,” said Wellman. “The person that leaves here today decides what they get to put into their next chapter.”