Today's Update: Monday, August 10

August 10, 2020

Dear Student Life Team, I had the privilege of participating in yesterday’s virtual commencement for our summer 2020 graduates.   

Just like spring, it was humbling, and a bit sad, to be in such a huge, empty space, especially knowing that our graduates and their loved ones should be surrounding us in celebration of their accomplishments. But I am also grateful that Ohio State has taken such care in crafting a virtual ceremony program that is the next best thing to “being there.”  

Yesterday’s speaker, Ohio State and National Basketball League great, Michael Redd, gave a truly inspirational commencement address.  

To me, his most impactful message to the new grads was not about the challenges they face, but how totally prepared they are to meet those challenges. As Michael put it, “Your perseverance and tenacity and drive will be the traits that will carry you to the next era of your life.” 

He sees all that is going on not as an obstacle to be overcome, but as an opportunity for greatness. He told the new grads, “You are born for this time. I want to say that again. You are born for such a time as this, in the middle of our world being in flux, social unrest, a pandemic, chaos all around us.” 

“I want to challenge you and encourage you in the midst of this new reality, there is new opportunity,” he said, “Never forget that the world inside of you can impact the world around you.” 

The key for Michael, and for the new grads, is their vision. He told them, “Never, ever negotiate your dreams, your goals and ultimately, vision. Vision is what has carried throughout my whole, entire career and adulthood.”  

I loved this part of his speech as well, telling the grads, “Never be afraid to take risk. Never be afraid to jump off into the deep and to jump off into uncertainty. There’s a great quote about risk: ‘If you're living on the edge of risk, you're taking up too much real estate.’” 

Inspirational words for our graduates, and they also contain truth for the rest of us. He gives us an excellent path to Scarlet and Greatness.  

Hats off to our graduates, O-H!