Jimmy Baker, Chancellor of Alabama’s Two-Year College System, told Troy University graduates on Friday that the world needed their leadership and encouraged them to go forth and make a difference.
More than 500 students received their degrees Friday morning during the summer commencement ceremony inside Trojan Arena on the Troy Campus. The University also honored Baker with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the ceremony.
Baker said the opportunity to meet many of graduates prior to the ceremony had given him confidence in the country’s future.
“The United States of America has gone through trials and tribulations, and we still have our problems that we have to be sensitive to and resolve,” Baker said. “But with people like yourself, who are dedicated to and capable of making a difference, I’m confident that our country is in good hands and has a bright future.”
Baker encouraged graduates to be aware of the past so that they will be prepared to make a difference in the future.
“History has a lot to do with the future,” he said. “I learned long ago that I can only help plan tomorrow if I know what happened yesterday. I want you to always be aware of how you can do good things, and I encourage you to do everything you can do to bring about improvement wherever you are.”
A TROY alumnus, Baker said he was delighted with the opportunity to provide the commencement address.
“This is a different place than when I was here many years ago, but it still has that same spirit and that commitment to preparing students to be leaders,” Baker said. “There is a big world out there that needs a lot of help, and I welcome you into that fold. The world needs you, and I encourage you to do all in your power to make a difference for your family, your community, and the larger community.”
A native of Coffee County, Baker was appointed to lead the Alabama Community College System in 2017, after having served as acting chancellor since August 2016.
A graduate of New Brockton High School, he completed undergraduate studies in business administration at TROY and earned a graduate degree in economics and education administration, and an educational specialist degree from Auburn University, where he was also certified in school administration. He was named Troy University Alumnus of the Year in 2018. He wife, Joy, is a retired teacher and the couple has two daughters and four grandchildren.