Roddy: ‘Hard Work Brings Sweet Rewards‘
“Set goals, stay focused and be prepared.” Commencement speaker Gretchen Roddy outlined her own keys to success on Friday night, reinforcing each as she addressed graduates and their families at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.
Roddy is the newly elected chair of the USAO Board of Regents, which governs Oklahoma’s public liberal arts college.
She encouraged graduates first to set goals, a common practice of the world’s most successful people.
“Choose carefully your short-term goals to direct you to long-term objectives,” Roddy said. “Without goals, you don’t know what you are going to achieve.”
Setting goals is critical to success in four areas: career, family, “the faith journey” and service, she said. Toward these ends, she added, “I’m happy to tell you that USAO has prepared you well to chart a successful future.”
In addition to the obvious career and family goals, Roddy urged graduates to set goals for service to others.
“Set goals for service to your community, state and country,” Roddy said. “What will you give back in the way of service? Service is your responsibility. Be a volunteer, belong to a civic organization, run for a political office, or be an advocate. There are a multitude of service options that desperately need bright, energetic and educated supporters.”
Rather than letting circumstances shape or lead a person’s life, Roddy encouraged the graduates to make more deliberate choices in life.
“Choose your goals. Don’t let your goals choose you,” Roddy said. “Make conscious decisions. If opportunity knocks, make sure it’s compatible with your goals. Opportunity is only an advantage if it leads you in the direction you want to go.”
Working hard and staying focused are key tools for successful people, Roddy said. “The better you focus, the more you will achieve. Make choices that further your goals. Don’t be swayed by false glamour or easy shortcuts. Don’t believe you are entitled to achieving your goals or that anyone owes you anything. The only way to achieving anything worthwhile is hard work and sticking to it. Hard work brings sweet rewards.”
After college, being prepared means to continue the learning process, she said. “Continue your education … find mentors in your field and learn from their experiences … network with others.”
Roddy urged the graduates to reject media images of success. “Stop searching for ‘the good life’ and start enjoying your life,”she said. “The utopia you see on TV and in the movies is not real. It does not exist. Stop searching for it. Life is passing by while you’re searching for it.”
Believing this non-reality causes people to embrace “a lifestyle that doesn’t exist and causes us to miss out on the truly important things in life. So get on with your life. Don’t count on lottery tickets or inheritance to give you the good life. The good life is about enjoying your success. The only way to have success is to work hard and to achieve goals.”
Learning to enjoy simple pleasures is a worthy goal, she said. “Enjoy the sweet moments of your life. Celebrate your achievements. Take time to enjoy your friends and family, a breath of fresh air, a rain. These can be the most precious moments of our lives, so don’t waste them. Count your blessings and reflect often on the good aspects of your life. Behave graciously. Be tolerant of people and ideas. Be open-minded.”
Roddy is an attorney specializing in corporate law. She earned her juris doctorate degree in 1992 from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She has been a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association since 1992.
She and her husband, Craig, a patent attorney with Halliburton, live in Duncan with their two sons.
Dr. Sanders Huguenin, vice president for academic affairs, presented the graduates for graduation. “They have demonstrated to the satisfaction of the faculty the hallmarks of educated people: a capacity to think clearly and creatively, the ability to express their thoughts effectively, the character necessary to live as active and responsible citizens, and the intellectual curiosity to continue their own education beyond the university.”
More than 700 people attended the ceremony in Troutt Hall Auditorium. The event was broadcast on the USAO Channel.
President Dr. John Feaver presided at the ceremony, his fifth summer commencement since being selected by the USAO Board of Regents to serve as the university’s 12th president.
The ceremony began with the traditional “Pomp and Circumstance” processional, performed by Dr. Stephen Weber, associate professor of music at USAO. Rev. David Klumpp, pastor of Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church in Chickasha, gave the invocation. Special music was presented jointly by vocalist Brian Riddle and saxophonist Richard Hunter, both of Anadarko, with pianist Stephen Weber. Together they performed “This is the Moment” by Brucusse and Wildhorn.
For each commencement, faculty members traditionally select outstanding graduates from each of the university's academic divisions. Laura Parker of Oklahoma City was named outstanding graduate in the Division of Arts and Humanities. In the Division of Business and Social Sciences, Richard Hunter of Anadarko was honored.
Laura Parker of Oklahoma City was presented the USAO Alumni Association’s Distinguished Graduate award, presented by Alumni Vice President Peggy Hoover.
Parker graduated cum laude with a bachelor of fine arts.
Parker was a member of the President’s Leadership Council, was president of the Art Club, vice president of the Student Ambassadors, and chaired various committees for the Student Activities Board. She was a varsity soccer player and team captain in 2004. As an athlete, she set several school records. She also served on the Volunteer Action Council, the Baptist Student Union board, the Droverstock Planning Committee, and was a volunteer in her church. She earned four different scholarships and admission to two honor societies. Earlier this year, she earned the Bill Smith Scholar Athlete Award. As an artist, her work was exhibited in eight different shows.
Dr. Dan Hanson, professor of music, led graduates and guests in singing the "College Hymn," accompanied by Dr. Stephen Weber on the organ. Hanson performed the recessional: the Triumphal March from “Aida,” by Giuseppe Verdi. Members of the honor societies, Alpha Lambda Delta and Hypatia, served as ushers for the event.
Special guests at the ceremony included State Rep. Susan Winchester, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma House of Representatives; and Vice Chief Justice Jim Winchester of the Oklahoma Supreme Court. Other platform guests included members of the USAO Board of Regents: Ed Hicks, Malyne Hilburn, Patti Rogstad, all of Chickasha; and Wes Johnston of Oklahoma City.
At the commencement ceremony, Feaver issued 25 bachelor of science degrees, 16 bachelor of arts degrees, and three bachelor of fine arts degrees.
Receiving bachelor of science degrees were:
Alex: Courtney A. Green
Anadarko: Kendra JoAnn Johnson, Brian James Riddle
Blanchard: Don Taulbee Jr.
Cement: Robert Carlton White
Chickasha: Travis Boyd Atkins, Eric Brannon Chronister, James Ryan Glaze , Stephen Jacob Glenn, Daniel Joseph Hillenbrand, Brooke Ann McHugh, Shiree Dawn Randell, Jerad Kyle Rhodes, Lacy Lee Wells
Dibble: Keri Lyn Keeler-Sparks
Duncan: Jennifer Leigh Cunningham
Purcell: Kyle Lacy Catt
Tulsa: Keith Miller
Tuttle: Thomas Earl Coker
Verden: Telia Denise Perrault
Yukon: Alana Renee Hare
Out of state:
Arlington, Texas: Kristin Leigh Minton
Burnet, Texas: Jennifer Lynn Bible
Denton, Texas: Royshid LaMarcus McKinney
Fort Worth, Texas: Crystal Lynn Judkins
Receiving bachelor of arts degrees were:
Anadarko: Shaun Joseph Base, Richard Joe Hunter, Aimee Renee Seaboy, and Jonathan David Talley (magna cum laude)
Broken Arrow: Mellody Jo Bollinger
Chickasha: Beau Keith Brewer, Thomas Wayne Hay, Leslie Tara Jones (summa cum laude), Kawana Rorchelle Neal,
Comanche: Crystal Travis
Fort Cobb: Jamee Anne Ware
Norman: Boe Steven Parr, Jessica L. Welp
Out of state:
Kansas City, Mo., Otis Ray Robinson
Round Rock, Texas: Jay Allen Steward
Wichita Falls, Texas: Michael Barry Geheb
Receiving a bachelor of fine arts degree was:
Chickasha: Lacey Renae Nowell
Norman: Garland Spencer Grantham
Oklahoma City: Laura Parker (cum laude)