2019 Fall Commencement Ceremonies, President’s Address to the Graduates


University of Akron 2019 Fall Commencement Ceremonies
December 14, 2019 · E. J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall
President’s Address to the Graduates
Gary L. Miller

Graduates, guests and distinguished participants.

I am in the enviable position to be the last university leader – except for the representative from the Alumni Association – to give you some advice.

This is a daunting task since we just spent years giving you advice.

My first recommendation is to always ask for help when you are faced with a difficult task. I did in this case.

I asked all 700 full-time faculty to suggest advice that I might give you today. Many of them did.

So many, in fact, that rather than read them all to you, I have condensed them down into 10 composite nuggets of collective wisdom. You may think of these as Roos Rules. Or, Tips for Zips. Or, maybe, Marsupial Morsels.

Here they are. Listen carefully.

  1. Take advantage of unexpected gifts. For example, if you lose your cell phone in the back seat of an Uber, celebrate your new-found freedom by having a meaningful face-to-face conversation with another human.
  1. The very best way to get someone to understand your point of view on an important issue is to show that person you understand their point of view on the issue. You must first learn if you hope to influence.
  1. Do not look down on people who own house cats. Remember, these people possess the supreme confidence to live completely ignored.
  1. Love is not a thing. Love is the only thing. Love deeply and you will be happy.
  1. People do not care about how much you know, until they know how much you care.
  1. Each of you is on a journey. Don’t spend the entire trip in your car. Walk some of it. Run some of it. And, in the words of the great Yogi Bear, when you come to a fork in the road, take it.
  1. There is no real understanding of the human condition in the absence of art, music and literature. So, look, listen and read. Then, you will understand.
  1. Be honest, embrace truth and practice compassion. These are the currency of educated men and women.
  1. Remember, you are all graduates of The University of Akron. Take care of each other. Love each other. Keep in touch. And remember, you are always a ZIP.

And, finally,

  1. In the words of the country singer Lee Ann Womack, “When you get a chance to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance. I hope you dance.”

All of us at The University of Akron hope you dance!!

Congratulations graduates. Go Zips!!

More about President Gary L. Miller