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WGU Graduate Speaker, Sean Copeland

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WGU Graduate Speaker, Sean Copeland
Western Governors University
<p>WGU Indiana graduate Sean Copeland spoke at the WGU 2017 regional commencement in Indianapolis.</p> <p>Sean Copeland earned his Bachelor of Science, Business Management degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>Sean Copeland: Well, I told myself today that I wouldn't cry, and I also put a lot of extra deodorant on, and both have failed me. So, if opening by talking about bodily fluids isn't a winner, I don't know what is. My comments will be short, and bright. So you can thank me in advance for that. </p> <p>I, like many of you, have had kind of an on again, off again relationship with education. In high school, I was valedictorian. In college I took the kind of "C's get degrees" approach. And eventually I was like, "No thanks, Tom Hanks," and I dropped out. </p> <p>Well, unlike most, I was fortunate enough to find my way into a successful career, which I'm still employed. But I felt like I'd kind of shorted myself in some way by not completing a degree. And I feared that one day, not having that education would hinder me. And in fact, that day came. And shortly therefore, I started researching options. And the two barriers that I kept running into were time and expense. Reasons to not do something find you so easily. Particularly when it's something that requires work, something that can be hard. </p> <p>So many online programs that were supposedly built for working adults, I mean, they still had extremely rigid schedules. And the cost led me to question the ROI. See, now that I'm a business graduate, I can just throw around terms like "ROI," right? </p> <p>Then I started hearing about WGU and honestly, my first thought was, "Is that real?" Because it sounded too good to be true to me. And sometimes when something feels or seems too good to be true it can be hard to trust, hard to kind of lean into. But WGU brought two solutions to the two problems that I had, time and expense. So instead of "No thanks, Tom Hanks," I said, "Yes, please, Socrates," the solutions were there, and I just had to embrace them. </p> <p>And the solution focus permeates this institution. A joke among my friends when I started every new term was, "Was this going to be the term that I tried out for the football team?" So we may not have the athletics to be proud of, but we have things like this to be proud of. I heard a story of a fellow student, she was really great. Great student. Wrote these awesome papers. And suddenly, I mean really pretty drastically her work began to slip. Just the papers were weird, like weirdly formatted and crazy grammatical errors. </p> <p>And her mentor reached out and said, "What's going on? How can we help you?" Well turns out, this lady had just, in the snap of a finger, became a struggling single mom. Her husband walked out on her, and took the family laptop. And she had resorted to typing her papers on her iPhone. That kind of determination was in her. And the solution oriented institution from which we're graduating today, said, "How can we help her?" And as I understand it, Chancellor Barber said, "Let's send her a loaner laptop today so that she can complete her degree on time." And she did. [Applause] </p> <p>Not only does having this degree empower me, but this solution oriented culture inspires me. I host a morning radio show on B105.7 here in Indianapolis. A shameless plug. You can turn that on in your car on the way home. And I have an agreement with my boss that was largely inspired by my time at WGU. I will not bring a problem to him unless I also bring a solution. And I try to embrace this concept in my personal relationships too. I mean, imagine if you brought this with your work, your marriage, any relationship. If you were just tossing out solutions all the time, people might like to spend more time with you as opposed to somebody who is just pointing out problems, right? </p> <p>So consider that as you leave here today. Anybody can point out problems, but only top performers, and in the world of online education, only night owls can present adequate solutions.</p> <p>So thanks to Chancellor Barber, her team. Thanks to my mentor, Rusty for being a great cheerleader. Thanks to my dog, Brady the golden doodle who was a wonderful classmate. I feel like that he should get a degree as well because he sat there with me during every class. And thank you I'm sure that we all have this person too, that we can think of today who, I heard someone put it this way, that we really should write their name in invisible ink on our diploma as well. So thank you to that person who has been and who continues to be, who I hope continues to be, my biggest fan. </p> <p>Thank you so much for all of the times that you kept seeing me until I was big enough to see myself. And I love you a whole lot le bit. It's like a little bit, except a whole lot. Congratulations to my fellow graduates. [Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
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Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)