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WGU Graduate Speaker, Phyllis Maclin, Summer 2011

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Phyllis Maclin, Summer 2011
Western Governors University
<p>Phyllis Maclin was selected as a student speaker for Western Governors University's 2011 Summer Commencement Ceremony. Phyllis is from Paducah, Kentucky, and graduated from WGU with a MBA in strategy and Management.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Dr. Robert W. Mendenhall: Thank you, Jamie, for your remarks and for your support of this university. It will now be our pleasure to hear from four of our graduates. We wish we could hear from all of you if we had time. But we'll hear first from Phyllis Maclin from Paducah, Kentucky, who is graduating with an MBA. We'll then hear from Jeff Solheim from Keizer, Oregon, who has earned his master's degree in nursing. We'll then hear from Wynn Hall from Phoenix, Arizona, who has earned a bachelor's degree in science education. And our final graduate speaker will be Bob McMillen from Beaverton, Oregon, who's earned a bachelor's degree in information technology. Following these speakers, Dr. Janet Schnitz, provost of the university, will confer the degrees.</p> <p>Phyllis Maclin: To my fellow graduates, President Mendenhall, honored guests, family, and friends, it is my privilege to address you this morning as we celebrate this glorious milestone. It is an honor and privilege to stand before you wearing the navy blue regalia that symbolized master of business administration and strategy in management, a tribute to our shared accomplishment wrought with persistence and determination to become the foundation for future endeavors and promising careers. This is an exciting time, believe me, to be an alumni of Western Governors University.</p> <p>My journey to WGU began in 2005 after my governor's appointment to the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education, Kentucky's prestigious higher education board that coordinates change and improvement in our university and community college system. I chaired the Committee on Equal Opportunity, and also served on the Distance Learning Advisory Committee where I met Dr. Allen Lind, vice president of technology and e-learning. It was during this time on the council that my desire for the MBA intensified. If I was to govern state resources more prudently and increased my business acumen, the only alternative for me was to return to post-secondary. And believe me, I wasn't really excited about doing it.</p> <p>So I decided to share my educational aspirations with Dr. Lind, and sought his advice on accredited distance learning programs. Unbeknownst to me, Dr. Lind had been in conversations with a certain Dr. Robert Mendenhall, who just happened to be in Kentucky to discuss the integration of a competency-based curriculum into the Kentucky Virtual Campus system.</p> <p>Months later, upon returning to the council to perform my civic duties, Dr. Lind seemed especially eager to greet me on this particular day. As always, he would reach out his hand and smile, but this time he handed me this business card saying, "He asked me to give this to you. Dr. Robert Mendenhall, president of Western Governors University." I can remember Dr. Lind saying so distinctly, "These people have it on the ball, and lady, I know the way you think. It should be a good fit." [Laughter] </p> <p>Well, you'll never believe how excited I was to know that this university president cared that much about me to help me better myself. Although I did not call Dr. Mendenhall directly to thank him, I did call WGU and enrolled the following month. Isn't it amazing how one little business card can redirect one's life?</p> <p>You see, I was criticized for returning to college at my age. Some tried to discourage me from applying to an online university, especially those who knew my workload. To silence my distracters, I would recall my mother's words of wisdom saying, "Anything worth fighting for is never easy and not always popular. If you work at it long enough, you will eventually get there." And you know what? She was right. Although my parents are no longer with me, their teachings still guide and direct me in everything I do. Never let anyone stop or derail your educational pursuits. This country needs your intellect. We really do. And for those of you in the midst of your journey, you must stay the course.</p> <p>As I look back over the last few years and how I juggled family, friends, career, and studies to get to this stage, I want to recognize the contributions of my support team. Student Mentor, Stephanie Wales, and Progress Specialist, Lorraine Grandinetti, they are truly my unsung heroes. When I first told them about applying for commencement speaker, both stated they had never mentored a student speaker before. Stephanie said, "Go for it! Woo-woo!" And Lorraine, she was equally excited. Their encouragement once against inspired me to believe anything was possible.</p> <p>Together with the fortitude of my sister, Karen, sister, [Inaudible], my wonderful son, Joshua, whom I just spotted, and my colleague, James, the prayers from the women of faith in my Sunday school class, they all empowered me to lead and influence construction crews and low-income families as vice president of Paducah Housing Services in Paducah, Kentucky. But it was the strength of the competencies, a systematic approach to business administration that emboldened me to become a prudent and more resourceful policymaker for the Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education. Thank you, mentors, thank you, WGU and the state of Kentucky for bridging the gap to my educational attainment.</p> <p>In closing, I acknowledge gratitude to Course Mentor, Kim Cassel, and to alumni and career services for providing invaluable advice free and post-graduation. And lastly, to President Mendenhall, thank you for opening the doors to me and countless others. Your infinite wisdom [Crying] -- and I said I wouldn't cry. [Applause] You challenged us to master the ultimate goal, because you believed anything was possible. Congratulations Class of 2011.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)