Commencement is a time-honored tradition at Kentucky State University, and this year KSU awarded 351 degrees at its 126th commencement convocation on May 9. Kentucky State Sen. Gerald A. Neal delivered the commencement speech to the graduates and before a capacity crowd.

During the commencement convocation, KSU President Raymond M. Burse described the graduating Class of 2015 and the university as multicultural, multi-national and diverse. He cited that 62 percent of the graduates was female with 48 percent African-American. He also informed the audience that besides the United States, there were graduates from 12 different countries.

Also among the graduates was Alexander Davie, who was commissioned as second lieutenant in the U.S. Army ROTC. Three other KSU students were awarded degrees posthumously.

The commencement speaker, Gerald Neal, gave timely advice and encouragement to the Class of 2015. “You all are capable of accomplishing great things – things this world may not have even imagined,” he said.

“If you remember little else of what I say today,” Neal said further, “I’d like you to remember these six words: passion, definition, preparation, perseverance, courage and integrity:

  • Passion: Passion is necessary to drive your dreams into reality.
  • Definition: It does not matter how far in the distance, but you must work to clearly define and know your objective.
  • Preparation: Spend time planning your every step. If you constantly work on your plan, it will empower you to reach your goals.
  • Perseverance: Don’t let anyone or anything deter you from your goals. The victory belongs to those who are persistent, unrelenting and determined regardless of the obstacles and challenges.
  • Courage: Face your challenges head on, tempered by whatever growing wisdom, but with conviction. Never, never give up.
  • Integrity: Maintain your integrity in all that you do. . . . The principles that you live and work by, doing what you know is right, will ensure success and, above all, happiness.”

In his closing remarks, President Burse told the graduates, “The future of our society and our world depends on the contributions that you will make. I have high expectations for each and every one of you.”

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