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December 16, 2006

ULM Fall 2006 graduates receive diplomas

The University of Louisiana at Monroe awarded diplomas to 415 students at the 2006 Fall Commencement Dec. 16 in Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

District Judge Jay Bowen McCallum of the Third Judicial District Court, representing Lincoln and Union Parishes, delivered the commencement address. McCallum, of Farmerville, received his bachelor’s of business administration in economics from ULM in 1982.

McCallum opened the speech with a recollection of once sitting where the graduates are now, knowing that challenges and opportunities would be ahead of him.

“I am able to understand that what I have been able to accomplish is due, in no small measure, to my experience here at this great university,” McCallum said. “I am forever grateful. While the landscape and architecture may have changed and the names and faces differ, the dedication to higher education of this institution under the able leadership of President Cofer remains constant.”

He acknowledged that what all of the graduates have in common is a fervent wish for success in future endeavors. McCallum then examined the concept of success by first determining that it is not “relative to or subject to comparison.”

The graduates cannot think of themselves as successful simply by comparing their accomplishments to those of others. McCallum used Einstein as an example, in that he was a successful physicist and mathematician, but not because he knew more about those subjects than McCallum. “He was successful because he took his innate genius and used and trained it laboriously.”

The graduates were advised to measure their own performances against their own abilities and the results that they should be achieving with the training and talent they have.

“Next, success is not subject to measurement by wealth or position – these are only false indicators which mean little if anything. You should measure your success in terms of your own joy, fulfillment and personal satisfaction in a job well done; an effort fully made.” McCallum advised that such a striving would lead to wealth and power, though the converse is rarely true.

He attributed success as often belonging to those willing to put forth great effort, and not just to the swiftest, strongest or most talented. This simple truth, he said, offers encouragement and also takes away the blame from external forces when we do not give our best. “Effort and persistence are the great secrets to success.”

McCallum concluded his remarks with the perspective that failures can lead to successes. He pointed out that Spencer Silver failed to create a superglue but instead invented the tremendously popular Post-It Notes for 3M. While Apollo 13 failed with their moon landing, their story became a great model of survival and human ingenuity.

He hoped that win or lose, the students would dare to step up to life’s challenges.

The top 2006 fall graduate is Caycee Amanda Davis, a radiologic technology major from Carriere, Miss. She is the daughter of Larry and Robbie Davis. She graduates summa cum laude with a cumulative 4.0 grade point average.

Several 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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