TROY - One of the nation's foremost experts in international higher education told Troy University graduates not to be afraid of failure, but, rather, use life and work experiences to become change agents and "global citizens."
Arlene Jackson, associate vice president for global initiatives at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, made the remarks in Trojan Arena before more than 800 graduates during the University's spring commencement exercises, which included the University's first two dual enrollment high school students to receive the associate degree.
"Don't stress on changing the whole world. Focus instead, like (TROY Chancellor) Dr. Hawkins, on changing the world where you are," she said. "Make a change by looking at the person next you and saying ‘let's make a change'."
Citing her life experiences gained from her parents, and later Girl Scouts, Jackson told students that although they may experience failures and "bumps in the road," they will find themselves better equipped to make a change in the world.
"I believe you can be a global citizen, too, if you allow those experiences to mold you into a change agent. Don't ever give up and don't ever let anyone stop you from dreaming … Be ready to take the adventurous journey with all the twists and turns you encounter," she said. "If you do, you will be the walking embodiment of the Trojan Warrior Spirit."
During the ceremony, Jackson was also awarded the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree by the University's Board of Trustees for her support of the University and her role in the growth of international education.
Two Goshen High School students also bore the honor of the being the first ever to complete the associate of arts degree through the University's dual-enrollment program, ACCELERATE. Colton Johnson and Dakota Wood completed the two-year degree through a joint effort between the University's Trojan Aviation program and the Pike County Schools Aviation Academy. Johnson, in addition, earned his private pilot's license through the program.