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Sen. Boozman Addresses Graduates at Spring Commencement


JONESBORO — U.S. Senator John Boozman encouraged more than 2,000 Arkansas State University graduates to use their education and talents to help others during commencement ceremonies in the Convocation Center Saturday morning and afternoon.

“I always enjoy visiting Arkansas State University,” said Boozman, the featured speaker. “There’s always something in the air that you can feel, and it’s a good feeling. Dr. (Tim) Hudson (A-State chancellor) and his team are doing an incredible job and certainly the faculty. But, most importantly you the students make Arkansas State University one of the best, in not only the state, but in the country.”

The senior senator for the state of Arkansas, Boozman chairs three subcommittees and serves on five committees in the 114th Congress: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry; Appropriations; Environment and Public Works; Rules; and Veterans’ Affairs. He was instrumental in recent years in assisting Arkansas State’s ROTC to remain active. The Red Wolf Battalion celebrates its 80th anniversary this fall.

Prior to Sen. Boozman’s remarks, Chancellor Hudson welcomed graduates, faculty and families. Hudson conferred degrees upon candidates from the Colleges of Agriculture and Technology, Business, Engineering, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics in the morning and the Colleges of Education and Behavioral Science, Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Media and Communication, and University College in the afternoon.

“Commencement is always a time of excitement at the university for the graduates, their families and their friends,” said Hudson. “I congratulate all of the graduates assembled here. This is a milestone event in your life and you are to be commended. As you receive your degree, I hope you will consider the challenges, opportunities and responsibilities you have before you as we face the future in these uncertain times. The destiny of our country and indeed the world is in your hands. Please accept my encouragement to follow Gandhi’s admonition and be the change you want to see in the world.”

Sen. Boozman went on to congratulate the degree candidates and remind them that commencement day is a celebration, a culmination of the years of hard work by the students, as well as recognizing the support groups who also worked hard to make it possible for the students to complete their education.

“You are leaving here with the skills and knowledge to excel in the working world,” he continued. “I applaud you for your efforts as you pave a path to your future and encourage you to find ways to use your talents for others.”

In closing, Sen. Boozman reminded the group, “Your generation is one of the brightest. Your time at Arkansas State has made you more prepared. Just remember to use it to help others. There are two kinds of people—givers and takers. Be a giver.”

Additionally, graduating students Erin Wadley of Sherwood, the 2016 R.E. Lee Wilson award winner, and Brooks Jones of Monticello, a Distinguished Service Award recipient, each spoke on behalf of the graduating class.

“I once heard someone say, ‘it’s much easier to steer a boat in motion than a boat at the dock,’” noted Wadley. “It’s much easier for us to figure that out and ponder it as we keep going, because sometimes stopping leads to no movement at all and, in turn, it becomes harder to move. That’s failing. All of you who sit here today have kept moving. You haven’t stopped. It isn’t a celebration of the fact that we’ve kept moving; it’s a celebration of completion and a challenge to continue moving.”

Jones added, “While each of us has taken a different path to arrive at this moment, the commonality among all of us, the institution that unites us, is Arkansas State University. This university has certainly shaped me and it has shaped all of us to an extent. There are simply too many urgent needs in our world and we have been given far too much to reside in oblivion to these needs. Unquestionably, we’ve been exposed to many of these challenges over the course our education at Arkansas State. But, not only have been exposed to these challenges, we’ve been equipped to confront them as well as anyone. 

“As we move from this place into our respective disciplines, let us remember to think deeply, ask tough questions and to solve problems. We’ve been prepared to do no less. We fill the shoes of many giants who have gone before us who touch nearly every sphere of society and who have impacted it for the better. Much has been given and now much is required.”