On Friday night, several hundred men and women made the march from matriculation to graduation during a ceremony at the Cameron University stadium.
For Jennie Hanna, this would be her fourth. A teacher at MacArthur High School, this degree is for educational leadership, just in case she chooses one day to go into administration. But on this night, she had one focus.
“I’m going to walk across the stage, get my diploma, walk off and keep on walking,” she said.
That’s what she and her fellow graduates were prepared to do. And to do it successfully.
It’s something Cameron University President Dr. John McArthur said was earned through their diligence in attaining their degrees. They had all come a long way in a relatively short time. The same goes for the university.
“For our graduates, look back with me …” he said. “You are not the same individual that you were then and Cameron isn’t the same as it was either.”
“We have changed and grown together,” he said.
McArthur touched on the college experience and the ways it helped in each of these graduates’ development as students and, most importantly, as people. He has bright hopes for the future due to these graduates.
“Students, you have worked for a change inside and out,” he said. “I look forward to living in a future you create.”
With the tools acquired during their college experience, the night’s keynote speaker, Comanche Nation Chairman Mark Woomavovah said he knows they are prepared to succeed in life. Now, it’s up to the graduates to know it as well. Citing an old story regarding a young warrior conflicted between inner positive and negative warriors, he noted these students, too, are warriors. Outcome is about mindset regarding which side prevails.
“I know which one is going to win,” he said. “The one you feed the most.”
A retired Army lieutenant colonel, as well as former teacher, talent scout and, now, published author, Woomavovah reminded the graduates to identify the most important things to do each day and “get them done.” It means to hustle and grind, he said.
“You’re going to have to level up,” he said. “Knowing your time in life is very limited, don’t waste how you spend it.”
Woomavovah offered his hopes to all in the university stadium this night.
“Grads, family, friends and faculty, I have this hope for you,” he said. “I hope your lives will stand the test of time.”
And with an invocation, Woomavovah began his final remarks for the graduates to finish.
“Once an Aggie,” he said.
The graduates responded with, “Always an Aggie.”