As University of Pikeville seniors gathered for their traditional commencement luncheon, classmate Luke Huffman of Pikeville shared the following message with the Class of 2013.
Today, classmates, I encourage you to celebrate because you have accomplished the goal you set for yourselves four years ago. You have worked hard to overcome the challenges in life and the challenges you faced in the intensive curriculum of your area of study at the University of Pikeville. To family and friends, we have accomplished this goal collectively. We could not have done it without you. We thank you for your commitment to us.
To the faculty, staff and administration, I speak for the rest of the class when I say that I have witnessed nothing but professionalism and rectitude from everyone at the university, at all levels and for that dedication, we thank you.
When I think about the scope of my experience here at the university, the first thing that comes to mind is all the progress that has happened during the past four years. We were a college four years ago, not a university. None of the student-athletes who call themselves national champions today were champions four years ago. The Coal Building was nonexistent.
In light of all of the progress we have seen and experienced, I am left wondering how it all happened. What did the university do to attain such growth? What did our student-athletes do to become champions? How did we build this medical infrastructure that provides healthcare to underserved areas?
The common thread in all of the progress that has happened over the past four years: from the transition to university status, the progression of student-athletes into national champions, to the erection of this medical infrastructure, is simply hard work.
And it is hard work, graduates, that brings us to where we are today. At the core, what we have accomplished in the classroom comes from the same hard work that led to the progression of this university. It is hard work that has brought us through these last four years. And no matter what path we chose, it will take us through your next four years, and the next four years, and all years to come. Our perseverance does not rest. Our dedication does not yield. And we always learn from our experiences.
As Walt Whitman once wrote, “We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson.”
Don’t ever forget how hard you have worked during the past four years, because there is more hard work to come