PARKERSBURG - Members of the class of 2011 at West Virginia University at Parkersburg were told as the leaders of tomorrow they have the ability and the responsibility to meet the challenges of the future.
"Leaders will need to anticipate problems to stabilize areas around the world," said retired U.S. Navy Admiral T. Joseph Lopez, the 2011 commencement speaker for Saturday's spring graduation ceremony at WVU-P which saw 442 students receive diplomas.
Lopez said one example of an ally surrounded by unstable countries is Turkey and that area could pose problems in the future. He said nations around Turkey show signs of instability in economic, social, political and political arenas. He added in the future the average age in Europe will be abut 40 while the average age in the Middle East and Turkey will be 20 or younger.
Students graduate from West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
"Religious and and political extremists are very attractive to the young unemployed," he said.
Lopez said one key to bringing stability to the world is for America to lead the world.
"We must be there today if you expect peace tomorrow," he said.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Faculty and students await the start of the 2011 ceremonies spring commencement ceremony at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
Lopez said the thing that is extraordinary about the United States is what other countries envy.
"It's not our natural resources others envy," he said. "It is our freedom; one thing dictators and people like Osama bin Laden fear is living in a free society where people can choose their own way."
Lopez said many countries around the world still look to the United States as a model when they have to make changes in their nations' institutions.
More than 400 degrees were awarded Saturday during the 2011 spring commencement at West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
The graduates were addressed by retired U.S. Navy Admiral T. Joseph Lopez.
Lopez told the students as the leaders of tomorrow they have the ability and the responsibility to meet the challenges of the future.
Lopez told the graduates to remain humble about their present success and their future success. He said they need to remember to keep "thank you" in their vocabulary. He said everyone needs to take a humble pill every day.
"You owe your success to others," he said. "I've never seen a successful one-man show in the Navy and many CEOs will tell you they do not know of many successful companies run by only one person.
"You need support from each other and you will need to support those who will work with you and for you. Do what is right."
Cindy Gissy, chair of the Division of Education and Humanities and professor of education, was the recipient of the Bernard P. McDonough Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year award at Saturday's ceremony.