Campus News

Speakers remind graduates to stay in present, find their joy

“Be where your feet are.”

It’s the most valuable lesson student speaker Jack Bush, a 2020 mechanical engineering graduate from Savannah who now works with Lockheed Martin Corporation, learned during his time at UGA, and it’s the advice he gave to his fellow alumni during the spring Commencement ceremony held Oct. 16 at Sanford Stadium.

It served as a reminder to stay in the present and take note of where you are.

“Today your feet are grounded in Sanford Stadium. It’s the exact same spot we began this journey during Freshman Welcome,” he said.

Bush recalled his first day on campus as a student—Aug. 12, 2015. It was the moment he realized he was, in fact, a Bulldog.

“It’s funny how our feet journey back to the spot sometimes, but be here, embrace here, and thrive here—exactly where your feet are,” he said. “You deserve to feel the weight of all you’ve accomplished.”

Bush reminded his fellow graduates that they’re not simply average Bulldogs. They have the ability and opportunity to make a difference.

“UGA students aspire to excel, forge paths and be influential in the world around them,” he said.

Victor Wilson, UGA’s vice president for student affairs and an alumnus, offered his own advice to the graduates and three ways to make it happen during his keynote Commencement address.

The advice came from his mother, who told him frequently to “make sure your joy glass is full.”

In order to make that happen, he suggested that they go find their bliss, reminding them to keep their heads and hearts open.

The second way Wilson told students to fill their joy glass is to find light in the path. It won’t always be easy, but being resourceful can lead to solutions.

“To keep your joy glass overflowing, make a conscious choice sometimes to live the hard way,” he said.

Lastly, he encouraged them to join in community with others.

“We are always connected to things bigger than ourselves,” Wilson said. “Each and every day, make sure your glass is filled, and don’t let anybody turn over your joy glass until all of your joy is gone.”

The university welcomed the latest alumni on May 8. A total of 7,324 students—5,958 undergraduates and 1,366 graduate students—met requirements to walk in the university’s spring Commencement. UGA President Jere W. Morehead conferred their degrees during the Oct. 16 ceremony.

“To our graduates, you represent tangible and inspiring evidence of the wisdom and foresight of those who drafted the charter of the University of Georgia and thus began in 1785 the great American tradition of public higher education,” said Morehead. “You leave here this evening as the next generation of leaders of our state, nation and world. Whatever your future holds for you, your time here preparing for life and citizenship gives special meaning to the words in the university’s charter that call the young people of this state ‘the rising hope of our land.’”

Forty-one students were recognized as First Honor Graduates during the undergraduate exercises for maintaining a 4.0 cumulative GPA in all work completed at UGA, as well as all college-level transfer work done prior to or following enrollment at the university.

“You should be proud of all you have accomplished so far, but I expect that you will go on to do much more. As UGA alumni, we do not rest on our laurels, nor do we forget the purpose of our education,” Morehead said. “With the degree you have earned and the opportunities you experienced here, you are equipped to become part of something larger than yourselves—to make a positive impact on the world.”