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December 15, 2007

Jindal offers encouragement, seven points of advice to ULM graduates

Louisiana Governor-Elect Bobby Jindal delivered congratulations and advice to the 407 students at ULM's Fall Commencement Saturday, Dec. 15 in Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

Jindal began by praising the graduates on their achievements. After celebrating their hard work and accomplishments, he shared seven points of advice.

"The first is this: It is so important today that each of us stops and thinks about that parent, that family member, that faculty, that teacher, that mentor that helped to get you here. Thank them, because this is such an important achievement, such an important accomplishment we're celebrating today."

He then advised the graduates to have something in life to be passionate about, to find work and relationships that they enjoy, and not to just do what they think is expected of them.

Jindal remarked that those present should embrace failure, reminding them that the heroes we admire struck out more times than they hit home runs, went bankrupt before having successful businesses, lost their first elections, but kept going until they achieved their dreams.

"Sometimes you're so afraid of failure, that you won't take the chance you need to succeed. You don't know until you try. I am telling you to believe in yourself, find something you love, work hard, and take a chance - there is no limit to what you can accomplish."

His next point centered on loyalty. "Be a loyal friend. Look for friends who are loyal to you." He learned the lesson in politics that everyone is your friend when you win, but the truly valued people are those who stand by you in the tough times as well. "I think it's important to be a faithful friend, and find friends who are faithful to you."

"I think you're going to do incredible things because ULM has given you the tools to succeed. Whatever you accomplish, I hope you will keep a spirit of humility about you." It's needed, he humorously recalled, in his own life as well, as his three-year-old son was disappointed that his father didn't have a "cool job" like members of the state police or fire department.

His sixth point was about faith, which he advised the graduates to have, as he thinks "it is important to have an eternal perspective in life." Life is comprised of ups and downs, always keeping us accountable and humble.

"Seventh and final, I want to ask you to give Louisiana a chance. This is a great state. You've been given tremendous gifts and talents, merely by graduating today. Stay and be a part of making this an incredible state."

Jindal's story focused on him finally finding the courage to ask his high school crush out, only to be turned down because her family was moving that weekend. He chastised himself for not acting sooner. Ten years later, however, he had occasion to remember his high school friend and gave her a call. The two connected, became engaged six months later, and now she is the mother of his three children and Louisiana's next First Lady. The story was another illustration of incredible success coming out of initial failure, and though that outcome is not guaranteed, we must take the risk.

The governor-elect completed his commencement address by offering his congratulations to the class of 2007 and to their families.

Jindal was elected governor on Oct. 20 by an overwhelming majority vote. In addition to serving as Governor-Elect, he is also currently serving in his second term in the U.S. Congress, representing the First District of Louisiana. Jindal was first elected to Congress in 2004, and re-elected to a second term in November 2006.

Karen Marissa Hughes Boyd of Calhoun, is the top 2007 fall graduate. Boyd, who is an elementary education major, is married to Marshall Brent Boyd and is the mother of Faith and Hope. She is the daughter of Douglas and Paula Hughes of Bastrop and Larry and Pamela Hires of Monroe. She graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 cumulative 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).

Army ROTC ULM Student Cadet Jeremy Richard Riggs of San Antonio, Texas was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Dec. 15 at 9:30 a.m. at the ULM University Conference Center Terrace (Library, 7th floor). Riggs, a criminal justice major, graduated in the summer of 2007, but was not commissioned then.

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