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Marion Munley Offers Congratulations to Graduates in Commencement Address

RTA_9864I had the privilege earlier this week to receive an honorary doctorate from Marywood University and to provide the commencement address for the Class of 2014. I watched in awe as more than 875 students from 23 states joined the Marywood University Graduating class of 2014. I was so proud of their hard work and dedication in persevering and earning their degrees.

Marywood University has been a special place to me and to my entire family. My mother is a member of the class of 1955, my late Aunt Jean, a graduate of the class of 1960, and my grandmother also attended Marywood in the 1920’s. In addition, my aunt, Kathleen Munley, is a graduate and long-time member of the faculty.

I was so proud of the graduating class of 2014, this class and other graduates all over the country. They are entering the workforce at an integral time. Competition is fierce, and although we are in the midst of an economic downturn and we see daily horrors such as terror warning, suicide bombings, and mass shootings, it is also a time of tremendous innovation, technology, and opportunity. I believe today’s graduates can add so much value to our country.

When thinking about the advice I would like to impart to Marywood and other graduates, things that I have found helpful in my career, most importantly is finding a mentor and a support system. Building a team around you who will encourage and support you through your ups and downs is so important to your achieving your goals. I have been so lucky to have a supportive husband and family behind me, who have always encouraged me along the way, telling me to embrace failure, because we learn and grow from our mistakes.

Other advice that I believe will help today’s graduates is to work towards building personal relationships. Networking and developing your people skills will help you develop confidence. Employers are looking for employees who are hard working, positive, confident, communicate well, and have what it takes to become leaders.

I would also like to encourage graduates to be real, don’t become someone or something you are not. Be true to yourself. If you recall the story of The Velveteen Rabbit, sometimes it’s hard to accept ourselves for who we are. We might feel inadequate, that we are not good enough, or that it would be better to be someone else. But, as the Velveteen Rabbit learns, we are who we are.

Most importantly, don’t ever give up. Set measurable goals and continue to always look at the horizon. You never know when opportunities will come your way. So be ready for them. Remember that where you are today does not determine where you will be tomorrow.

I wish the best to the graduates of 2014. I ask you to live your faith, give back to your community, help those less fortunate than yourself and Thank God every day for what you have.

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