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WGU Graduate Speaker, William Porro, Winter 2017

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WGU Graduate Speaker, William Porro, Winter 2017
Western Governors University
<p>WGU 2017 Winter Commencement Speaker William Porro.</p> <p>William Porro earned his Master of Business Administration degree.</p> <p>Transcription of video:</p> <p>WGU President, Scott Pulsipher: Please join me now in welcoming to the lectern, William. [Applause]</p> <p>William Porro: I want to first say it’s an honor to be here but before that I want to know who that 17-year old graduate is. [Laughter]. I’m going to find you today. So, congratulations.</p> <p>To say that I’m surprised to even be here sharing the story would be an understatement. At 58, additional schooling almost deemed like an impossible feat, not to mention most impractical.</p> <p>Consider for a moment, a working professional with 30 years of experience, a grandfather, married, and together with the same woman for 41 years, reaching for an MBA. [Applause]</p> <p>Yeah, you can applaud that. You can applaud that. [Applause]</p> <p>It seemed almost far-fetched. The reaction I most often got when I told somebody that I was studying to get my MBA was “Willie, Why?”</p> <p>A new program that our city manager had created that would launch my WGU journey. This new program enabled an existing city employee to apply through a competitive process to become a management intern and be basically brought about through entire city departments to assist in different departments as a management intern. I immediately jumped at the chance but realized on of the selection criteria that you must have is an advanced degree.</p> <p>“Wow” I thought to myself, “All of this experience and yet I’m not able to apply because of a degree.”</p> <p>You see in many fields and sectors, especially government, local, state, federal, certain positions require an advanced degree just to even apply.</p> <p>So, that’s my reason. What is yours?</p> <p>I want to say hello to the Cubans in the house. Are there any Cubans here, by the way today? Oh, I see a couple of hands. Thank God. Thank God. Here’s another one.</p> <p>So, if you’ve never seen or known what a Cuban looks like this is your chance. Okay. [Laughter]</p> <p>On a cultural side, we are a unique people. Which coming from probably one of the poorest, largest nations in the Caribbean, whose national flag is a cross between Texas, where I graduated from in the United States.</p> <p>So, we’re very proud people. Cubans can be under communist rule for over 60 years and still crack a joke at the most desperate of times. We drink probably one of the strongest forms of coffee known to man. In little baby tea set cups that if you were to spill it, it would strip the paint off of any painted surface. [Laughter]</p> <p>To provide a backdrop to my family, allow me to tell you a little bit about my parents. My mother was a small-town girl from very little schooling. My father was orphaned at 15 and went on to become a very successful doctor. Years later when my family emigrated from Cuba, back in 1960, prior to Castro taking control of the country in 1959, we had to become, he had to become re-certified as a doctor again, learn a new language, all the while trying to keep our family afloat. He sold furniture, shoes, even worked as a mechanic while my older brother worked and my mom and my older sister did piece work for pennies during the evening.</p> <p>So, it came at no surprise at the age of 13 I wanted to become a rock star. And I told my dad, “Dad I want to by a guitar” and he very cheerfully responded “son, that is awesome. Now go get a job and get, and get it for yourself.” [Laughter]</p> <p>I’ve never stopped working since the age of 13. This lesson along with many others that have learned from my parents have been the foundation that action mixed with persistency breaks down the walls of doubt in your life.</p> <p>I’ve spent the majority of my life working in financial services, more by destiny than by design. I have worked with for some of the most prestigious companies, private sector companies, such as American Express, Cigna, and Citibank.</p> <p>For 13 years now I call the city of Miami my home. As assistant director, assisting low moderate income working families and small businesses prepare and get ahead. So, when I stop and think that I was being actually prepared for what I’m doing now. From working on the dark side, enticing customers to obtain credit cards, insurance products, and banking. I now teach city residents and small businesses how to be wise financial shoppers and get their financial house in order.</p> <p>Which brings me to today. What prompted me to turn my MBA at WGU. After doing my homework I found that the coursework at WGU is second to none. Everything about each course has tested my competency to ensure that I understand the material. There are no shortcuts. Can I get an amen to that? Thought so.</p> <p>The Assessment test one has to take to pass the course makes sure of that. We should be proud of the hard work each of us has put to earn his degree and now we must go out and not just do good work, but let’s do good.</p> <p>Now with the MBA WGU offers me the opportunity to take advantage of my years of experience and having the advanced degree that is so desired in today’s marketplace. I’m glad to have achieved this milestone. I’m grateful to God for the opportunity and to my amazing wife, my two sons and their families. I also want to thank all the course mentors for their dedication to subject and my fabulous student mentor, Katie Walsh. If you are here somewhere, god bless you and I really do appreciate you allowing me to share this story.</p> <p>Thank you very much.</p> <p>[Applause]</p>
Western Governors University
© 2017 Western Governors University – WGU. All Rights Reserved.
Original Format: 
Commencement Video
Digital Format: 
MP4 (Moving Picture Experts Group)