PHENIX CITY - State Rep. Chris Blackshear called on graduates of Troy University to be "giraffes" during commencement exercises for the Phenix City Campus and Fort Benning/Columbus.
About 147 students participated in the ceremony, held at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center Friday, June 10.
"Be a giraffe. Dream. Dream big and be aware of your surroundings," he said. "And, always remember, there's someone trying to beat you. Beat them to it."
Blackshear won a specially called election in January to fill the Alabama House of Representatives District 80 seat that came open with the death of Rep. Lesley Vance. Blackshear serves on the County and Municipal Government, Financial Services and Insurance Committees in the House of Representatives.
Previously, Blackshear was a Council Member At-large and Mayor Pro-Tem for the City of Phenix City.
He gave graduates five essential ingredients to success, acknowledging the nearly 150 students who graduated had already achieved success.
"You in this room are not in the 'typical' category," he said, asking the graduates to stand in groups.
"If you're working full time while earning this degree, please stand ... if you're married ... if you are a parent ... if you are out of high school more than 10 years, please stand," he asked. A majority of the graduates were standing.
"You guys have sacrificed a lot, and have overcame the majority of reasons and excuses why others haven't completed their college education," he said. "You guys are now uniquely equipped to be an example to somebody else with the same dream and vision that you have."
Blackshear's five components for success: happiness, love, character, relationships and vision.
"Have a 'winner's attitude;' that's something that makes other people want to follow you," he said.