Louisiana Tech fall graduates learn life lessons from keynote speaker
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Three hundred four Louisiana Tech students became alumni Saturday during the fall commencement ceremonies.
The graduates also learned valuable life experiences from keynote speaker William Hogan, president and CEO of the Bank of Ruston.
“I’ve learned a few lessons along the way,” Hogan said. “My education and professional career has been a rich series of twists and turns.”
Hogan discussed how, as a finance major at Oklahoma State University, he ended up winning the national championship for poultry judging.
“That was a turning point in my life,” Hogan said. “Have an open mind and don’t give in to preconceived notions that you have to know it all.”
Hogan also discussed how he was piloting an airplane with two of his employees, and due to piloting error, the airplane crashed in a cow pasture. Everyone sustained only minor injuries, however.
“That was one mistake where you realize things could have changed forever,” he said. “Life did change for me. I appreciated life and relationships more.”
When the FAA investigator called to discuss the class, too, Hogan said he took full responsibility for the accident.
“He told me that in all of his years as an investigator, he had never had anyone freely admit they were at fault,” Hogan continued. “He said because of that, there would be no mark on my record and that his visits would serve as my remedial training.”
Hogan added that students should remember that people matter most.
“All the people I met along the way made me the person I am today,” he said. “Be a positive influence in your work environment. It’s crucial. Be available. Always return phone calls, answer emails, text messages and social media communications. Be the person who finds solutions, innovates and leads in a positive way.”
Life is all about relationships, Hogan said.
“Give back and be committed to what you believe in. Some of the greatest joys in life come from the gift of kindness,” he said. “Make a difference in your community. Keep your eyes open for ways to give.”
Kierra Johnson, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business, said she, too, learned life lessons while at Tech.
“Sometimes all the work is not given to you,” Johnson, of West Monroe, said. “You have to find resources to make it through.”
Emmanuel Ogbonnaya, of Nigeria, received his Ph.D. Saturday and said he has enjoyed what he has learned at Tech. He will apply his education and life lessons with his future employer, Intel.
“Patience,” Ogbonnaya said. “Writing a dissertation is patience. It’s been a long journey, and I’m glad it’s finally coming to an end today.”
Written by Judith Roberts – firstname.lastname@example.org