June 8, 2020

Purdue Global Chancellor Dooley addresses June graduates

INDIANAPOLIS — Purdue University Global Chancellor Frank Dooley made the following remarks to Purdue Global’s 2020 June commencement graduates. More than 1,000 graduates participated in the virtual ceremony.

Introductory Comments:

Good afternoon and welcome to our 2020 commencement! I am Frank Dooley, chancellor of Purdue University Global. During these unparalleled times, we are thankful to be able to celebrate with you today from wherever you are watching around the globe.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest, graduates, that while you are amazing, you didn’t get to this momentous day on your own. You turned and leaned on family and friends for encouragement and support throughout your journey at Purdue Global. Let’s give our family and friends a big round of applause.

We are proud that our Purdue Global student body includes over 4,800 active duty, National Guard and reserve military members serving around the globe; over 1,400 military family members; and 2,800 veterans. That’s over 9,000 students affiliated with the military.

Close to 10,000 people have graduated from Purdue Global in the last year. Over 51% of you are the first in your family to attend college. And, more than 65% of you have a child or other dependent.

These numbers shape the individuals who joined you in the classroom, who are here with you today and who will join you in the workforce. We are so glad you are here.

Keynote Remarks:

Officially, I have been with Purdue Global as chancellor since May 1 of this year, and you are my very first class of graduates. Normally, our ceremony would include a graduation speaker. But with the coronavirus, only a handful of us are permitted in the room (and let me share that we are at a proper social distance). As a result, Purdue Global is following the practice of Purdue West Lafayette and having the leader of the institution address the graduates.

It was easy for me to say yes to this wonderful opportunity, but then I had to think about, “What will I say that hasn’t been said at any other graduation.” If you consult our dear friend Google, you get all kinds of advice and examples on graduation speeches, some of it good, some not so much. And you can probably imagine what these speeches typically are. I also asked my daughter for her advice, and it was direct and simple, “Keep it short, dad.”

Annie is quite wise, and I’ll listen to her suggestion. I plan to keep it to around another three minutes, in which time I’ll address three topics. So let’s go.

Topic Number 1: Celebrate, especially in this time of pandemic and social unrest. To celebrate is to observe a notable occasion. And your graduation certainly is notable, but let’s think why.

Normally, we would all have come together in an event center; your family and friends would join us, you’d process across the stage, someone would shake your hand as you receive your diploma, and you’d hear your name announced to the world. Later you might enjoy a great dinner with friends and family who’d help you enjoy your great accomplishment.

But instead, you’re participating remotely and perhaps individually. So, despite the challenges that today’s world give us, our isolation from those dear to us, we still need to celebrate and enjoy what we’ve achieved. Your accomplishment is important. Be proud! Make sure if you can’t celebrate properly today, that you take time to do so when life returns to some semblance of normal.

Topic Number 2: Reflect, and by this, I mean take some time to think carefully not only about what have you accomplished but, more importantly, what is next. I’m confident that the past couple of years have been incredibly busy for you as you juggled work, school, your spouse or partner, kids, friends, a pandemic and more. My hunch is that you’ve not had much time to consider what comes next.

By graduating you’ve defied the odds, especially as an adult learner. And what that tells me is, not only are you intelligent and hardworking, you are also persistent. In the coming days, you will fill the vacuum of time that was spent with your studies. But before a new normal sets in, take some time to reflect and ask yourself what is next for you. Given what you have learned, and learned about yourself in the process, what do you hope to achieve.

Topic Number 3: Be grateful.

Growing up, on numerous occasions my grandfather stressed to me the importance of showing appreciation. He’d remind me that I scored the winning run in the game because of Steve’s hit to right field. He’d remind me that the award I got at the science fair was influenced by the teacher who helped me figure out the problem.

So while I told you to celebrate and reflect upon your great accomplishment of your graduation, I also encourage you to show gratitude to those who assisted you to reach this milestone. That includes your teachers and advisors, and those important in your life.

So how many of you are timing me? I hope I’ve kept it under my time allotment. Let me close by simply saying to the Purdue University Global class of 2020, well done, congratulations and Hail Purdue!

Final Remarks

I have two final pieces of advice. During your time at Purdue Global, you have strengthened your ability to learn. Don’t let that strong learning muscle atrophy. Whether in a formal setting or on your own, keep learning for the rest of your life. Second, be kind …

You may now change your tassel to the left side of your cap.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s my pleasure to present the 2020 graduating class of Purdue University Global.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global is the extreme personalization online university, providing students the competitive edge to advance in their chosen careers. It offers a hyper-tailored path for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global serves more than 31,000 students (as of March 2020), most of whom earn their degree online. It also operates several regional locations nationwide. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates two regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest, Indiana, as well as serving close to 6,000 science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, please visit purdueglobal.edu.

Media Contact: Tom Schott, tschott@purdue.edu


Purdue University Global Chancellor Frank Dooley delivers his commencement address to more than 1,000 graduates, who took part in a virtual ceremony June 6. (Photo by Tom Schott)


Note to Journalists: A photo of Frank Dooley delivering his commencement address is available on Google Drive.

Related Release

Purdue Global commencement recognizes more than 1,000 graduates

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