Michael J. Bellamy, Presiding Judge for the 26th Judicial Circuit Court of Alabama, encouraged Troy University graduates on Friday to celebrate their accomplishments but also to be active participants within their communities.
Speaking to graduates of the Phenix City Campus and the Fort Benning location on Friday night at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, Bellamy told graduates they had an obligation to their communities.
“No matter how you got here, it is a day to celebrate and a day to be proud of your accomplishments. Yes celebrate, but with the knowledge and the degree you receive here today, you have an obligation to participate in your community,” he said. “TROY has prepared you well and given you the tools for success. To whom much is given, much is required.”
Bellamy encouraged graduates to become registered voters and participate in the election process.
“Support men and women with good character for office; men and women with the desire to serve,” he said. “Even with all of our problems, ours is the greatest democracy in the world. Participate and disagree, but don’t be disagreeable. Express your beliefs and your concerns, but be tolerant of those who may have a different view than you. None of us have a monopoly on what’s right. As you participate, do so with kindness and consideration for others. We must not let our differences be our defeat. We must let our diversity be our strength. What our country truly needs is a little more kindness and a lot more respect for our differences.”
Bellamy also challenged TROY graduates to give back to their communities through service and by doing what is morally right.
“Participate by volunteering and giving of yourself in service to your community. Give your time to help those less fortunate,” he said. “Participate by doing that which is morally right and choose to do what is morally right even when it is not popular or even when it is not politically correct. Participate by doing what is right and what you have a passion for. If you only work for money, you will never, ever earn enough, but if you work at what you have a passion for you will never, ever be without joy and satisfaction in your life.”
Bellamy also urged graduates to be life-long learners.
“Never stop learning. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young. Don’t let anyone discourage you from pursuing what you have a dream or passion for,” he said. “I believe that our life is a gift from God. What you do with your life is your gift to him.”
Bellamy was appointed to the Circuit Court in 2013 by then-Gov. Robert Bentley to replace retiring judge George R. Greene. Bellamy won election to a full six-year term in the general election in 2016.
Prior to his elevation to the Circuit Court, Bellamy was a Russell County District Court judge from 1998 to 2013, initially appointed to the position by then-Gov. Fob James.
Since 1977, Bellamy has practiced law in the following capacities: Assistant District Attorney, criminal prosecution in both Russell County and Macon County Alabama; Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of Alabama, Condemnation Proceedings; Municipal Court Judge for Phenix City and general law practice.