​​​​​​SOUTH CAROLINA ORGANIZATION OF RURAL SCHOOLS

 

I have no idea why I am here today. I looked at my schedule yesterday and there it was, “Something State University speech.” If I were truthful, I would tell you that I have no idea what is going to happen to you in the future. That’s pretty much what you want to hear. What is going to happen to me. I can’t tell you that.

The past school year has been abysmal. The rules for living a good life have disappeared. Everyone has their opinion on everything backed up by their own facts. Maybe even some of you fall into that category.

One thing for sure. When you step off the stage this morning it will be a far different world than your predecessors stepped into. It has become a world of chaos, a divided U.S. and a divided world. Have I scared you a bit, maybe so? I would rather be truthful, rather than flowery.

You may have heard or seen Chadwick Boseman’s commencement speech to the Howard University Class of 2018. He spoke about “purpose.” He had no idea what would happen in the following three years. His death affected me and caused me to look at my own purpose.

From about 1970 till now, the purpose of our society has been financial maximization. That’s from a book, Could This Be your Future by Yancey Strickler, co-founder of Kickstarter. He postulates that everything from that time onward to today is to secure more money. Even your college experience has trained you so that your priority will be to make more dough. 

Yancey Strickler, the author of the book. “This Could be our Future,” and originator of Kickstarter says that era will probably come to an end. Therefore, it is even more important to figure out how you will interact with the world. Is there really a dichotomy between doing some good and making money? Why can’t those two things exist side by side?

If your purpose is going to be to maximize financially, you will not be in harmony with the world. There are many ways to success in all arenas. You must find out what kind of arena you want to be successful. The era of financial maximization is over. The Covid-19 pandemic has hustled us quickly into the next era. 

I am hoping that you will contribute to making the world a different place. I am not asking you to be a “do-gooder,” or “flaming liberal,” I am saying that your worldview should be to improve things for many people.

You have to right to question if I have followed these precepts. I have no idea. I am not someone who engages in self-reflection. I did what I did because I wanted to and it seemed like the right thing to do. That’s key. Do what you think is the right thing for you and for others.

Thank you for your attention and if you remember nothing from my words, that’s fine.

My Commencement Address to the Class of 2021 at Something State University