Rep. Derrick GrahamGraduates received their degrees from their various disciplines during Kentucky State University’s third fall commencement on Dec. 14. The graduates, their families and friends, and KSU faculty, staff and administrators filled Bradford Hall’s Carl H. Smith Auditorium as Rep. Derrick Graham shared both encouragement and advice from his years as a teacher and state legislator.


“Each of you has had the extraordinary experience of college life,” Graham said. “Each of your stories is unique.”

He also said that while everyone has experienced the big “F” – or failure – they can also experience success and happiness if they wisely incorporate the six “Fs” representing faith, family, friends, finance, Facebook and fun.

“Faith is the foundation upon which we draw when obstacles are thrown in our paths and when we encounter great sorrow.”

“It can also help us to be loving and wise and, at times, humble and helpful to others. But you must also have faith in yourself and in your children and in your co-workers and in your leaders and in this world because those relationships will determine how you evolve as a citizen within our society.”

“Today, your success is their success. Love your family members, continue to seek their counsel in life, appreciate them, listen to them and thank them as often as you can. Keep them close and always a part of your life.”

“They will help to give you a better perspective on life and make you more receptive to new ideas and experiences.”

“Understand that you must live within your means. Not all of you are going to be millionaires, but you will have a much happier life if you keep things in financial check.”

The need for instant commentary, communication and reactions seems critical to all of us, but I caution you to think before you post.”

“If you don’t have fun, you’ll wind up being miserable. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes.”

“Many of the people with whom I serve have completely different ideologies and beliefs. I could debate with someone every day if I wanted to. But I’ve had to learn to smile sometimes and let it roll off and find the humor, the fun and the joy in serving as a member of the Kentucky General Assembly and in working with my colleagues, trying to formulate policies that address the needs of all Kentuckians.”

Graham has served in the Kentucky House of Representatives for the 57th District since 2003 and is a retired social studies teacher who taught 27 years at Frankfort High School in the Frankfort Independent School District. He earned a bachelor’s degree at KSU in 1980 as well as a master’s degree at Ohio State University.