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Broadway: "Set an Example" as UAFS Grads

Broadway: "Set an Example" as UAFS Grads(Posted: May 10, 2014)

Former state Sen. Shane Broadway told University of Arkansas - Fort Smith graduates to remember where they came from, to pursue their dreams, and to set an example for others at the University's commencement ceremonies held May 10 at the Stubblefield Center.

Broadway, who graduated from Arkansas State University, first recalled his own college graduation from two decades ago.

"I sat where you sit 20 years ago this weekend. I was very humbled and very grateful to an institution who took a chance on me, because I was not the best student to walk the halls of Bryant High School," he said. "When I first came to college, I didn't have a lot going for me. But I was blessed with parents who valued education, and for that I'm eternally grateful."

Broadway, who currently serves as the director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, referred to his father, who dropped out of school in the eighth grade to fight in World War II. He later returned to school to get his GED at age 40 to serve as an example to his children about the importance of education.

"I overcame a lot of things, and I stand before you today a direct result of the opportunity provided by higher education. And that's why I get up each and every day," he said, later telling students to never forget where they came from and who provided them the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

Broadway also stressed the importance of pursuing those dreams, alluding to personal milestones he'd accomplished.

"My childhood dream was to be the voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks. And a few years ago, I received a phone call when I was Speaker of the House, that someone at the university had found out that was my childhood dream," he said. "The call told me to be in the press box for the second quarter of the Arkansas - LSU game.

"For 15 minutes, I was the voice of the Arkansas Razorbacks. I don't remember a thing that happened in those 15 minutes, but even if it was only 15 minutes, I achieved my dream. And that is one of my messages to you today. That no matter where you come from, what your last name might be, what your parents do for a living, what car you drive, you can do anything in life that you want to if you set your mind to it. By being here today, you have already shown all of us in this room that you can."

Broadway closed his speech by reading a poem titled "To Any Athlete," a verse about the importance of setting a good example that had been posted in the locker room of the Bryant High School basketball team when he played for them.

"'There's a wide-eyed little fellow, who believes you're always right, and his ears are always open, and he watches day and night. You are setting an example every day in all you do, for the little boy who's waiting to grow up and be like you.'"

"You have overcome odds, and you are part of an elite group of Americans," he added. "Go forth and be that example for higher education. Be that example for why it's important and why it changes lives.

UAFS Chancellor Dr. Paul B. Beran also spoke at the ceremony, reminding graduates to take pride in their accomplishment throughout their lives. He mentioned his 90-year-old father, who lives in a local retirement home and still wears his college ring.

"The most important possession he has, and the thing he looks for every morning, is his college ring," Beran said. "To him, that college ring is what sets him apart, is what makes him special. It's an accomplishment that no one can take away from him.

"If you're fortunate enough to get that old, I hope the first thing that you think about every day is your college days at UAFS, perhaps putting a UAFS ring on, and if not a ring then at least recalling a memory," he said.

Beran told graduates he looks forward to seeing their accomplishments.

"The thing I want you to remember the most is that you have now entered an arena of less than 30 percent of people in this country that have degrees," he said. "That makes you unique, and that makes you a leader. I look forward to you carrying your knowledge out into the world."

The two commencement ceremonies, held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., awarded more than 520 degrees and certificates to students completing graduation requirements during the spring semester and summer terms.

The morning ceremony awarded graduates from the College of Applied Science and Technology, College of Business, College of Education, and the College of Languages and Communication. Graduates of the afternoon ceremony included the College of Health Sciences, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The ceremonies also included the oath of office for five UAFS students commissioned as second lieutenants in the Active Army or the Arkansas Army National Guard – Jeffrey A. Sory of Charleston; Johnathon Grier and Cole L. Thomas, both of Fort Smith; Ryan Austin Millican, Greenwood; and Joshua D. Autrey of Van Buren. They have all been a part of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) at UAFS. Lt. Col. Kevin Cox administered the oath.

In addition to Chancellor Beran, presenting the candidates for graduation from both ceremonies were Dr. Ray Wallace, provost and senior vice chancellor; Wayne Womack, registrar; Dr. Margaret Tanner, interim dean of the College of Business; Dr. Georgia Hale, interim associate provost and dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology; Dr. Carolyn Mosley, dean of the College of Health Sciences; Dr. Henry Rinne, dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences; Dr. Joe Hardin, dean of the College of Languages and Communication; and Dr. Mark Arant, dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and interim dean of the College of Education. Dr. Randal Overbey, UAFS program coordinator for the College of Engineering at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, presented candidates for graduation for the engineering programs which are a cooperative effort of UAFS and UAF.

Ceremony participants also included the UAFS Symphonic Band, directed by Dr. Alex Zacharella; Kirsten Binns, a music education graduate who performed "The Star Spangled Banner"; Ernest Cialone, chief marshal and bearer of the mace; the UAFS Reserve Officers' Training Corps, presenting the colors; and Rick Goins, alumni director at UAFS, who gave a welcome from the Alumni Association.

Jim von Gremp, the chairman of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees, spoke briefly at the afternoon ceremony, congratulating graduates and lauding the University.

Pre-ceremony music and a post-recessional bell peal were performed on the Donald W. Reynolds Bell Tower Carillon by Dr. Stephen Husarik, head carillonneur.

Article by: John Post, Public Relations Assistant
Photo(s) by: Kirsten Cutsinger

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