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WGU Graduate Speaker, Roger Osborne, Summer 2008
WGU Graduate Speaker, Roger Osborne, Summer 2008
Western Governors University
<p>Roger Osborne earned his Bachelor of Science, Information Technology degree. On July 19, 2008 Osborne was a graduate speaker at the Winter 2008 WGU Commencement. This WGU Commencement took place at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Good morning, I'm Roger Osborne. And what I'd give to be able to take the energy in this room this morning, bottle it up and open it up some day when I'm much older and gray-er.</p> <p>Fellow graduates, faculty, distinguished guests, family and friends, it is with great honor and humility that I stand before you. Honor. You know, as I was trying to put on paper my thoughts and feelings about this day, I decided to take a moment and look up the word honor. One definition says that honor is the privilege of being associated with or receiving favor from a respected person, group, or organization. Well, I can assure you that is exactly how I feel today. I feel privileged to be associated with each and every graduate, and I feel privileged to be associated with this college, Western Governors University.</p> <p>As a busy father to four precious girls, a husband to an incredible wife, a full-time Information System supervisor, and a part-time business entrepreneur, I didn't have time to spare and it didn't take a reasoning and problem solving in the context of humanities class to come to the conclusion that traditional brick and mortar classes would not fit into my schedule.</p> <p>Undoubtedly many students have come through WGU's virtual doors looking with high hopes that an online curriculum would be quick and easy. They may have been hopeful that the journey would be one that they could get through and move away without any hardship. However, once their academic action plan was populated, Taskstream homework assignments began piling up, they learned all too quickly that this would neither be easy nor painless.</p> <p>In some respects online learning brought unique challenges. Most, if not all of us, have families, jobs, and countless responsibilities competing for our time each day. Had we not established a strict learning schedule allotting the necessary time for our studies and stood absolutely resolute in making our dreams a reality, we would not be where we are today. Time management and unyielding commitment is unquestionably the key to success.</p> <p>I personally struggled a great deal with math more than any other subject. It was a required course that I had allowed to stand between me and a degree for more than 20 years. Math was my personal Goliath. Writing, history, even science never held a candle to this beast. And I was absolutely terrified and I took the pre-assessment. You can picture me hyperventilating and I just resigned myself to get an e-mail from my mentor, Dr. Paddock, saying that my dreams of receiving a degree were a waste of time. I imagined him and all the other mentors sitting in some makeshift, smoky teacher's lounge passing my score around and laughing at me. But that email never came. Instead Dr. Paddock went over the areas that I didn't do so well in, he gave me some much needed guidance and direction. And throughout that I even found a few of my own helpful resources as well. Before I knew it I had slain this beast, this giant that had stood in my way all these years. Was it easy? No, but it was worth it.</p> <p>Once in a reply to an email I had sent to Dr. Paddock shortly after I failed my pre-assessment for ethics, I was asking him to allow me to add another class to my term. He replied back that he would let me take another class, but that he had a hard time truly trusting someone who couldn't pass ethics. Such a funny guy. And I will never forget Dr. Paddock telling me shortly after I passed my final capstone project, Roger, when you start to think of how grateful you are to be away from all the tests and assignments, think about how grateful your mentor is to be away from you. He didn't really say that, I thought it would be funny anyway.</p> <p>It is important that I recognize those closest to me who in their own special way made this dream standing here before you a reality. First and foremost, I want to thank my wife, Angela. Her absolute unwavering support during this time was and is quite simply beyond all words. Not once did she ever tell me you're going to have to put down his books and come in here and help me when quite honestly I'm sure she wanted to more times than one. She is my rock, my helpmate in the truest sense of the word and she's my best friend. Your sacrifice Angela, will never be forgotten.</p> <p>I would also like to thank my children, Julie, Kara, Rhiannon, and Sarah who reminded me each day why this goal held such significance and meaning not only to allow me to provide each of them with a better future, but also to show them that a long held dream by their father could be stitched and woven into reality.</p> <p>Not to say there weren't sacrifices. A few weeks before I completed my final task, I was talking to my youngest daughter Sarah. She's six years old. And I told her as we were eating breakfast one morning I said, "You know, I'm only two courses away from finishing my degree?" and she let out this really cute little girl shrill. And I said, "Wow, you sound almost excited about me graduating as I am." to which she replied, "I am." And I said "Well, why?" And she said, "Because Dad, I've missed playing with you."</p> <p>But in the words of Anatole France, "To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act." The sacrifices I made during this journey were unquestionably worth the sacrifice and price. My hope is that one day that my daughters will look back to this time and realize that their father loved them beyond all measure and he proved his love, not only in the times that he spent laughing and playing, but also in the time that he spent in quiet solitude preparing for this next journey and this bittersweet event.</p> <p>My mom who is watching this commencement through the video feed always told me I could do anything I wanted. My father passed away a little more than a year ago would have been very proud too. They both gave encouragement when I needed it most and they believed in me even when I didn't, and I'm forever grateful for their sacrifices. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't say a huge thank you to my mentor Dr. Paddock. Dr. Paddock was always there whenever I needed guidance and direction and at times I'm sure he probably wanted to put my email address on a spam filter, but to his credit he didn't. In all seriousness, I could have not have a hand-picked a better mentor, and you are an asset to this institution and I thank you for that.</p> <p>Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "That what lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." We, as graduates of an online learning institution have taken a road less traveled. A road that does not allow for complacency and half-hearted attempts. One that has no time for indecisiveness. This is a road where each person passes or fails based on their efforts and theirs alone. Through all the struggles, studying for exams or the daunting feeling that would sometimes overcome me just as I pressed refresh button just one more time in Taskstream, to see if it had been graded, you've all been there, I learned three very important life lessons: One, that I could do it. If I put my mind to it, absolutely anything was possible. Two, I learned through each and every completed assignment and every test that I passed, if I put in the hours required, my dream was possible. And three, I learned that through my actions I was breaking free of a mold of yesterday's standards and decisions that had tried to define me and I had become determined to no longer become bound by my past.</p> <p>So here I am today standing before you, a big smile on my face, a cap and tassel proudly displayed on my head. I am a college graduate. All of the graduates here today can be proud that we have prevailed against the shadows of doubt which attempted to poison our minds and by telling us that we would fail. We have stood squarely in the face of raging storms and wind that would have tossed us off course had we not resolutely stood as form to reach the uncharted lands just over the horizon.</p> <p>Milton Berle was once quoted as saying, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." Well, each of us here can be proud of the door standing before us. With great precision and steadfast purpose we have through countless hours of studying and learning crafted a solid frame and an exquisite door through which we can all pass. And standing just across that threshold our future has never been brighter.</p> <p>In parting, I'll leave you with these final thoughts. Success is not based on your past, only on your present and future. And there are very few, if any, who have had greatness thrust upon them without them first having moved in the direction which greatness stood. And finally President George W. Bush who famously had a C average in college once told the graduating class of Yale, "To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions I say well done, and to the C students I say you too may one day be president of the United States." If that is your goal, just makes your father's president of the United States first. In all sincereness I salute each of you and I wish each of you nothing but continued success. Thank you, and have a good day.</p>
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