TERRE HAUTE —
From professors to classmates, graduates of Indiana State University on Saturday were reminded their path to a new career comes from a network of mentors.
About half of the nearly 850 eligible graduates who completed degrees in the summer and fall participated in ISU’s Winter Commencement at Hulman Center.
Bradley P. Hobbs, 26, who delivered the student address, previously trained and worked as a paramedic right out of high school in Indianapolis. He worked for three years, gaining valuable experience from co-workers, before deciding he wanted to be a nurse and do even more.
His spark for the medical profession came from his grandmother, a nurse in an Indianapolis hospital whom he job shadowed while in high school. Hobbs said he made the right decision coming to Indiana State.
“I loved every bit of it. Great professors. Great bang for your buck,” he said.
Hobbs plans to continue his education as a graduated student at ISU. “My goal is to work in an emergency room as a physician’s extender,” he said.
During the graduation ceremony, Hobbs told ISU graduates they “will better the world as educators, pilots, nurses, business professionals, musicians, scientists, and artists among many other great professions. There is no doubt that our educations here have prepared us for our careers. But we have also gained so much more.
“For me, ISU professors like Dr. Marcia Miller and Professor Jill Moore have offered me guidance that has promoted my personal growth and maturity. They have challenged me to become a better version of myself. The test remains now, for me and for you, how to use our education and experience to improve the communities where we go on life’s journey.”
“When we look for a job we should use our ISU training to search for a career, not just for a paycheck. As my Dad always says: ‘Find a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.’”
U.S. Magistrate Craig McKee, an attorney and 1979 graduate of ISU, delivered the alumni address. He referenced astronaut Neil Armstrong and how it took a team for Armstrong to get to the moon. “No one goes to the moon alone,” McKee said.
“My observation today is that the success you measure beyond Indiana State will be supported by a network of people from whom you seek counsel. You will need mentors — people whose wisdom and experience will inform your own. It will be about all of you, together,” McKee said.
“You will discuss issues with veteran teachers in the faculty lounge or a senior pilot with whom you share a cockpit. You will learn from a sales manager who understands how to overcome a slack time or an experienced nurse who remembers what it was to be new on the floor. You begin careers knowing a great deal because of your education, but also less than you realize or will need.
“Your network of mentors will be part of you wherever your career takes you. Over time it will take a sublime form of both receiving and transmitting when you are not only seeking counsel but sharing it,” McKee said.
For Alicia B. Hicks of Monrovia, Saturday’s graduation was the result of determination and support from her teachers.
Hicks survived an automobile accident on I-70 in March 2009, after her vehicle left the road and rolled several times. She was taken by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital.
She spent a month out of school, losing valuable class time, she said.
“It was hard work and it took some very understanding teachers. I did a lot of [catch-up work] from home,” she said. “I was head set that I was going to graduate.”
Hicks said the accident inspired her to do more at ISU.
“Ever since it happened, I have done so much. I have done research, mentored and presented my research in other places,” Hicks said. “The accident woke me up basically. I never really thought I would do so much in my college career, but I have. It inspired me to be more involved,” Hicks said.
She plans to go to Vanderbilt University Medical Center under a nurse residency center, with a goal of becoming a nurse practitioner.
Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at (812) 231-4204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.