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WGU Graduate Speaker, David Cooper, Winter 2010
WGU Graduate Speaker, David Cooper, Winter 2010
Western Governors University
<p>David Cooper was selected as a graduation speaker for WGU's Winter 2010 Commencement. David is from Green Valley, PA.</p> <p>David Cooper and earned his Bachelor of Science, Business Management degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>I'll lift those a little bit higher. [Chuckling] Good morning, Western Governors University, family, friends, faculty, alumni, and distinguished guests. My name is David Cooper, and I just want to take a little bit of time to speak to you about experience with Western Governors, which is very near and dear to my heart. </p> <p>I first want to say thank you to Western Governors for bestowing this honor to allow me to speak at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony. It's truly an honor, and I'm forever grateful for the honor being bestowed upon me. I also want to thank my wife and my kids. They're not here with me today, but I recognize that they're my foundation, and without them, none of this is possible. So my wife, I know she's looking via online, so I want to say thank you to her. </p> <p>When I look out into the audience, you know what I see? You know, I see men working two jobs to try to make ends meet. I see families struggling to figure out how they're gonna go to school and keep a roof over their head. I see parents trying to set an example for what education means to their kids. Nothing could be more important than this experience here at Western Governors University. </p> <p>I also see, much like I am here, a bunch of students. Some of has tried to attend school in previous years, and haven't had the opportunity to be as successful as we would've liked. We're full of starts and stops, beginnings and beginnings again. But with determination, we all walked to make it to this day, and this is a proud moment. Each of you should be proud in the opportunity that we have here, because Western Governors University embodies what learning should really be about. It really should be about flexibility. The opportunity to go to school on your time in your time. It should be about affordability. We shouldn't have to mortgage our futures to pay for the educational opportunities of today.</p> <p>Also, it should be about mentoring. Everybody in here should have or could use a mentor, form the littlest to the oldest. And having someone – a listening ear, a caring person, to help you navigate through life's challenges, through education's obstacles, well those are things that we hold near and dear to our hearts, and we have to continue to remember that Western Governors University is at the front of the revolution to be able to help us accomplish that. </p> <p>You know, when I started at Western Governors in 2009, like many of you, I was scared to death. You know, I'd been out of school for some time, and, you know, I'm asking myself, "What am I doing?" [Chuckling] You know. How can I go back to school? I mean, I didn't get it done the first time. You know? My experience from a university perspective, I've got more memories of standing in line at the bursar's office, wondering whether my financial aid check was gonna be there. Or wondering whether I was gonna be able to register for the class that I needed to take that semester. Or trying to figure out what was gonna happen on Thursday or Friday or Saturday, you know, which party was gonna be where. I guess I'm by myself in that regard. [Chuckling]</p> <p>Fast forward quite a few years. I had an opportunity to work in corporate America. I feel like I've been rather successful in that capacity. I've lived all across the United States. I've even lived and worked in Asia for a few years. But I recognize that through all of this success, or the modicum of success that I had, something was clearly missing. I needed to have my educational experience match my professional experiences. I needed to have the opportunity to be able to do more than what I was doing in the business world. And I recognized, through my professional successes, that I had the talent, the dedication, and determination to do anything that I wanted to do if I just rolled up my sleeves and gave it a try.</p> <p>Pundits from the outside may suggest that hey, here I am in corporate America, and I'm overachieving. But in the back of my mind, I recognized that you know what? I was actually underachieving. If I could accomplish this things without a business management degree, can you imagine what I possibly could've accomplished had I have had it? That was the nail in the coffin for me to come back to school. And Western Governors was the vehicle to allow me to do just that. At that very time, at that very moment, I recognized that I needed Western Governors University. And Western Governors University helped to fulfill my needs to allow me an opportunity to learn in the way that I knew I could and like many of you, that you could. </p> <p>Let me tell you a little bit about what I don’t see in the audience. What I don’t see is I don't see the graders. Maybe it's just me, but you know, those invisible people behind every Task Stream performance assessment. You know? I recognize that they had a job to do, and I commend them for how well they did their job for me. [Chuckling] But if anyone is a grader, I mean no harm. I mean no offense. But I would ask my fellow WGU alums if you know a grader, or if you see a grader today, just give them a hug. And be sure to whisper to them that I'm sorry for all those not-so-nice things that I said in my head when I got those performance assessments back, and I had to resubmit, and resubmit, and resubmit.</p> <p>You know, seriously, though, I want to make sure that I crystalize this moment and acknowledge that you are all the best of the best. And the reason that I say that is, is that despite all the naysayers that said you couldn’t do it, or why are you going to school, or you're too old, or you're, you know, you're too experienced, what are you doing, you forged on. And you’ve found a way to get it done and see it through. And for all the pundits that suggested that, you know, what is Western Governors, and what kind of school is that, hey guess what? Accredited, flexible, using mentorship to help people achieve their dreams. To me, it sounds like a pretty good school. </p> <p>You know, you guys are the people that persevered through all of the things that happened in life. Multi-tasking, you know, juggling the kids off to school, going to work, studying from midnight to whenever you could, you know, literally let your head hit the pillow, only to wake up that next day and do it all over again. And you all represent the best that education has to offer, and I want to make sure that I share that with you all today. </p> <p>As I was kind of putting together this speech to talk to you today and share my experiences, you know, a poem came to mind by a famous poet named Edgar A. Guest. And the poem is called See it Through. And when I think about that poem, it really helped to crystalize and symbolize how that poem applies to each and every one of us here today. The poem goes a little something like this. </p> <p>When you're up against a struggle, when you're squarely face-to-face, <br> lift your chin, set your shoulders, plant your feet, and take a brace. <br> When it's vain to try to dodge it, do the best that you can do. <br> You may fail, but you may conquer. See it through. <br> Black may be the clouds about you, and your future may seem grim, <br> but don’t let your nerve desert you, keep yourself in fighting trim. <br> If the worst is bound to happen, despite all that you can do, <br> running from it will not save you. See it through. <br> Even hope may seem but futile, when with trouble you're beset, <br> but don’t let your nerve desert you, you're only facing what other men have met. <br> You may fail, but fall still fighting. Don't give up, whatever you do. <br> Eyes front, head high, to the finish see it through.</p> <p>I can say here now that with WGU, we have collectively seen in through. Congratulations, graduates, and all the best to you. Thank you.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
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