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Aug. 9, 2003

Commencement Speaker Talks of Benefits of Finishing a Job

The University of Louisiana at Monroe awarded diplomas to 271 students during Summer 2003 commencement exercises held at Fant-Ewing Coliseum on campus Sat., Aug. 9 at 2 p.m.

ULM President James E. Cofer Sr. conferred degrees and awarded diplomas. Dr. Horace Perry Jones, a history professor at ULM, delivered the commencement address. There were 271 people awarded.

Jones began by telling the graduates his speech consisted of two goals. One goal was to say something that some would remember and the other was to say something that might help some of them someday. His message consisted of a short poem and one point, his poem entitled, Briefly Speaking, ended with the words, "we gave him 20 minutes, but he finished up in 10.'"

Jones went on to say that his one point was illustrated by a Star Wars t-shirt he was wearing, and in part of a graduation speech given in the 1890's by the Governor of Illinois. The point was, as Yoda put it, 'This is no try, only do.' By Governor J. P. Altgeld of Illinois, it was, 'This is an age of individual achievement... If you are sent out to bring something, bring it, and not an explanation. If you agree to do something, do it; don't come back with an explanation. Explanations as to how you came to fail are not worth two cents a ton. Nobody wants them or cares for them.'"

Jones then told the graduates that his point was further represented in a short essay by Elbert Hubbard written in the early 1900's entitled "A Message to Garcia."

Simply stated, the story is of one man who was determined enough to search out and deliver a letter to a general named Garcia. After briefly recalling the story, Jones said, "The point that I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, 'Where is he at?'

"General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias. No man who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man­the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it. Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds unless, by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in his goodness performs a miracle and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant, " said Jones.

Jones indicated that more people need to be like the letter carrier; with a willingness to work and complete a task. "My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the 'boss' is away as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter to Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it. Civilization is one long, anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village­in every office, shop, store, and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed and needed badly­the man who can 'Carry a message to Garcia,'" Jones stated.

Professor Jones told the graduates that workaday America can be a rough and competitive place, but one way to rise in it, if so called upon to do so, is to "'Deliver the Message to Garcia' without asking, 'Where is he at?'".

Jones has been teaching at ULM since 1965. In his 38 years with the school, he was awarded "Outstanding Teacher of the Year" in 1972. Jones served in the United States Marine Corps after high school. While in the Marines, he made the Inchon Landing in the Korean War and took part in what he calls the "Coldest Campaign" in U.S. military history, pulling back from the North Korean/Chinese border, and was awarded two purple hearts. Upon returning from military service, Jones attended Mississippi College. He became co-captain of the football team and was voted "Most Outstanding Male Athlete" his senior year. Jones then received a masters degree from Appalachian State University and went on to teach and coach in various schools throughout the United States and Europe. In 1960, Jones became the head coach and Athletic Director at the American School in London, England. He left London in 1961 with a pack on his back and hitchhiked around the world for over two and a half years. Jones earned his doctorate degree in history from the University of Mississippi and came to ULM in 1965.

Evelyn Beaver Holloway of Eros was the top graduate of the Summer 2003 class with a grade point average of 3.850. Holloway, who received a bachelor of general studies, is the wife of Dr. Bob Holloway. Evelyn Holloway has been employed at ULM since 1984.

The ULM Honors Program graduated one student, Angela Cruz Hillman, with a bachelor of general studies. There were two to graduate with their Pharm.D's.; Casey Kendall, and Clinton Miller.

ULM also awarded doctoral degrees today. Students earning advanced graduate degrees are: Antoinette Curry-Perkins, receiving the Ed.S. in counseling; Tonja Fillippino, receiving the Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction; Dona Holloway, receiving the Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction; Jerrod Wheeler, receiving the Ed.D. in educational leadership; Amy Adams, receiving the Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy; Jeanette Robertson, receiving the Ph.D in marriage and family therapy; and Chrisotpher Youngberg, receiving the Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy.

ULM ROTC Graduate, Nicole Spears, is graduating as a 2nd lieutenant in the United States Army.

Honor graduates were recognized during the ceremonies. They are designated as summa cum laude (3.900-4.000), magna cum laude (3.750-3.899) and cum laude (3.500-3.749).

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