LSU chancellor to Tech grads: Continue learning, give back

May 21, 2011 | General News

The speaker for spring graduation at Louisiana Tech made three major points: continue learning, give back to the university and reinvest in society through education.
“This is not the end of your education; this is the beginning,” said Michael V. Martin, chancellor of Louisiana State University. “That is why we call it commencement and not termination.”
Martin told the 849 graduates Saturday in Thomas Assembly Center that it was important that an education should not only serve the individual, but others as well.
In his early comments, Martin also talked about “stuff” that didn’t exist when he graduated 42 years ago – the Web, personal computers, Google, Facebook, etc.
“My point is this: The world is going to change and you have to adapt to it; you have to continually learn.”
Martin told graduates that they will be constantly challenged by change and they should use their education as a platform to continue learning. “Persistently reeducate yourself,” he said.
“Most certainly, you will leave here with a degree that has an enormous amount of technical capability and expertise in it,” he said. “But in my judgment, what you will leave here with is the demonstrated capacity to learn. You will leave here, as I like to say of all my students, ‘a systematically curious person.’”
He urged the graduates to “give back” to the university.
“Louisiana Tech has given you an education.” Martin said. “You will forever be a product of this university. And I guarantee you that a product of this university today is very strong.”
He told the graduates that when they leave, they will be carrying the “label of Louisiana Tech University.”
“I guarantee that when you get out in the world that you are going to populate, having the label of Louisiana Tech as strong as it is today and as it is going to get will be a great benefit.” Martin said. “It will open doors. It will impress people. It will indeed be your label.
“From that perspective, I can tell you that those of us in the rest of higher education and beyond have enormous respect for this institution,” he said.
Martin told them that they should not only “grow” their own career, but give back not only to Louisiana Tech, but to society.”
“What I believe is increasingly important that you also put something back in service,” he said. “It is not just for the sake of doing the right thing.”
To underscore this point, Martin cited the budget crises in this state and others, pointing out dwindling public funding of state institutions. Martin noted that more of the burden of funding state institutions is moving from public to private.
He said that this year for the first time, the state’s funding for LSU is less than half of the school’s budget. In some states, the ratio of state to private funding is even greater.
He said that many believe that education is still a powerful public good that deserves financial support. “Reinvestment in the place that made you is the best investment you can make.” he said.
“The public still should make that investment (in higher education),” Martin said. He said that it was important to make people understand that having an educated populace is in their best interest and therefore worthy of investment.
“So we all have to redouble our efforts to do those things that make higher education, certainly a private good, but certainly a public good,” he said.
Written by Reginald Owens –