Louisiana Tech graduates celebrate new beginnings, opportunities at commencement

Mar 5, 2016 | General News

“Grab the reins – and a safety helmet – and jump in.”
This was the message about life given by keynote speaker Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Marcus Clark to 316 Louisiana Tech University graduates during the school’s 315th commencement exercises held Saturday at the Thomas Assembly Center.
Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Marcus Clark addresses Louisiana Tech graduates

Louisiana Supreme Court Associate Justice Marcus Clark addresses Louisiana Tech graduates

Ninety-four students earned postgraduate degrees while 222 received their bachelor’s degree. Anna Kathryn Whitehead, of Downsville, graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade point average as she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
“Consider this campus as a doorway to the next chapter of your life,” said Clark. “The feeling of accomplishment you have is much deserved. “For the rest of your days, the status of being a Louisiana Tech graduate will serve you well.
“Remember the people who paved the way for you and the people who played an instrumental role in making what’s happening today a reality. For people like your parents, this may be a bittersweet occasion. I say that because they’ve been there for practices and recitals to high school dances – be mindful of the sacrifices they made for you along the way. Find a loved one who helped you through this. Go up to them and give them a hug, look them in the eyes and say ‘thank you.’”
316 graduates receive diplomas at winter quarter commencement

316 graduates receive diplomas at winter quarter commencement

Clark also reminded the graduates of the work put in by their “Tech family” to help them pursue their degrees.
“Remember the faculty, staff and administration and the time they spent in helping you,” Clark said. “They are heroes and are the backbone of the education you’ve received. Not only did they offer hours of classroom instruction, they prepared you to face the demands of real life. The tests they gave you offered you ways to find solutions and build confidence. All of it preparing you to make a difference in this world.”
Clark offered four key things he said he’d like the graduates to remember as they move on in life.
“First, be yourself,” Clark said. “Leave your footprint, because no one who came before you or will come after will leave the same mark. View the world as your own blank canvas. Second – serve those around you.
“Third, learn from your mistakes. They do not define you. And last, be present. Take note of the little things and appreciate them. Only fear will prevent you from turning opportunity into reality.”
Clark also reminded the graduates to remember Tech.
“Please, when you leave home – Louisiana Tech – help the university,” Clark said. “Help others realize their goals as you’ve realized yours. You can do so by donating your time, money or support. Even better, do all three. That’s very important right now, especially in times of financial crisis.”
Before wrapping up his speech, Clark went off script for a brief moment.
“How ’bout those ’Dogs?” Clark asked of the crowd regarding the Tech baseball team’s recent play. “They beat two Top 25 baseball teams. You can’t ask for any better than that.”
Before introducing Clark, Louisiana Tech President Les Guice told the graduates it was a day they’ll always remember.
“Many of those who started Tech with you aren’t here today,” Guice said. “Despite the challenges you faced, it was you who set goals and worked tirelessly to achieve them. It was you who showed perseverance and dedicated countless hours to study, research and attending class.
“You have made many memories that will truly last a lifetime. Today is truly a milestone in your life’s journey.”
Louisiana Tech’s Vice President for University Advancement Brooks Hull also presented the Tower Medallion award of Hall of Distinguished Alumni induction to 1951 accounting graduate John J. Long, a Shreveport investments and insurance salesman who served three terms as president of the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association and helped establish the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 1976.
“I am moved emotionally because I can now say that I have reached, whether or not deserved by merit, the pinnacle of my aspirations. I am deeply appreciative of this honor.”
Written by T. Scott Boatright –