Sunday, May 16, 1999

Pepper's advice to grads: 'Don't become stuck'

3,000 get advice, diplomas

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        In ceremonies mixing solemn formality with unfettered joy, Xavier University, Northern Kentucky University and Thomas More College conferred degrees upon more than 3,000 graduates Saturday.

        Xavier awarded nearly 900 undergraduate degrees and 850 graduate degrees in commencement ceremonies at the Firstar Center.

        Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, a native Ohioan who was the first man to walk on the moon, received an honorary doctorate of science degree from Xavier.

        John E. Pepper, chairman of the board of Procter & Gamble Co., was presented with the Xavier University Leadership Medallion in recognition of his achievements in the business world and his many contributions to the community.

        In his commencement address, Mr. Pepper said he has noticed one feature shared by successful people.

        “They have been extraordinarily passionate about what they're doing,” he said.

        Mr. Pepper urged Xavier graduates to approach their futures with purpose and enthusiasm. “Don't become stuck,” he said. “Keep exploring to see what you really want to be. Don't get discouraged if you don't find what you really want to do right off the bat.”

        Mr. Pepper said that reaching out unselfishly to others benefits those who give as well as those who receive.

        “I don't think I've found anybody who feels truly fulfilled unless they're giving an important part of their lives to other people,” he said.

        About 1,040 students received degrees Saturday at Northern Kentucky University's Highland Heights campus.

        Thomas More College in Crestview Hills awarded degrees to 319 students.

        Enquirer reporter Susan Vela contributed to this story.


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