Words of wisdom and stories of experience were shared by the speakers at OSU Institute of Technology’s commencement ceremony for the university’s 205th graduating class.
The nearly 250 graduates sat in their caps and gowns at their commencement ceremony in Covelle Hall on Friday, Dec. 16, and heard from keynote speaker Mark Wyatt, who graduated from OSUIT’s School of Visual Communications in 1982.
“When I was sitting right there where you are sitting 34 years ago, I also had a dream. Amazingly, my life has become something much bigger than my young mind could dream up that graduation day. And I wasn’t any more special than each of you graduates here today,” Wyatt said.
He also spoke about the encouragement and support he received from instructors while a student at OSUIT, as well as the top-notch education. It’s why he has since hired several fellow alumni at the advertising and marketing firm he founded in Dallas, Agency Creative.
“I am proud to have hired graduates from the School of Visual Communications over the years. I am always impressed with how knowledgeable, talented and passionate they are,” Wyatt said. “Their work ethic has always far exceeded graduates from other schools. You may not realize it today, but this school has prepared you and trained you to excel— not just get by. You are trained and prepared for success. It now simply depends upon you on how far you can go.”
For student respondent Kelly Edwards, her journey to OSUIT’s School of Visual Communications was anything but a straight path. After working as a doula for 25 years helping deliver hundreds of babies, and being the mother of 10 children herself, she put on her first graduation robe Friday.
“Today, I will be graduating for the first time ever. I received my GED the summer after my graduating class, but I’ve never had the privilege of walking across a stage or turning a tassel, so what a privilege it is to be here at 48 years old,” Edwards said. “I am sure that all of us have stories of struggle and perseverance, of fear and determination. I know for a fact that every graduate here today is an overcomer.”
Wyatt encouraged the graduates to take initiative, be assertive, do their work with excellence, and be tenacious.
“Use your work ethic and talents that you learned here at OSUIT to prove yourself as a valuable asset to the company you work for— the same company that took a chance on you. Be humble for the opportunity your employer has given you by allowing them to teach you from all the professional experiences they have. Remember, knowledge is great, but experience is golden,” he said.
And like Wyatt, Edwards said she is grateful for the education and opportunity she received at OSUIT, which, she reminded her fellow graduates, is not like a lot of other universities.
“Each of us here is part of something so much greater than ourselves. Today, we are earning degrees, but the greatest thing I have gained from OSUIT is family,” she said. “As we go out into the world, we take a piece of OSUIT with us. We take skills that no other university teaches. We take the lessons of instructors that know what they are teaching because they have lived it. We take their wisdom and personal experience and dive headfirst into the workplace. And while other universities may offer similar degrees, OSUIT offers us the chance to be the best applicant. We are a lucky bunch of students.”
And Wyatt said it’s also important to give back.
“I encourage you to inspire future students of OSUIT by periodically coming back and sharing your experiences and successes,” he said. “Remember, this school trained you for success. Help future OSUIT students by paying it forward.”