More than 140 graduates from TROY's Phenix City Campus and Columbus/Fort Benning Site took part in fall commencement ceremonies on Friday.
Dr. Brenda Coley, superintendent of Russell County Schools, challenged Troy University graduates embrace life’s seasons, both good and bad, and to continue the journey that ultimately leads to purpose in life.
Speaking to more than 140 graduates from the Phenix City Campus and the Columbus/Fort Benning Site on Friday at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, Dr. Coley said life’s journey is filled with many lessons that help to lead to the final destination.
“Don’t let the pain of one season destroy the joy of all the rest,” the TROY alumna said. “Don’t judge life by one difficult season. Throughout this journey called life, we find ourselves in many places, and we experience many seasons along the way prior to our destination. The journey is filled with lessons, headaches and hardships, but also joy, celebrations and milestones that will ultimately lead us to our final destination – our purpose in life.”
Dr. Coley told graduates it is important to appreciate and celebrate their accomplishments, but also to remember those who helped them arrive at this point.
“It is very important that you embrace this place of your journey. This place is a place of accomplishment, for you are a Troy University graduate,” Dr. Coley said. “In spite of delays and regardless of the challenges, the most important fact is that you have arrived at this place. However, you didn’t arrive at this place only through your own guidance, your abilities or your skills. Someone helped you along the way and so many of them celebrate with you tonight.”
Dr. Coley challenged graduates to take the next step in their journey.
“This is a wonderful place. This is a place of pride, a place of hope, a place of new opportunity, a place of honor,” she said. “But, my challenge to you tonight is – are you ready to go to your next place? Every new place in your life will be an opportunity to learn and grow. I encourage you to aspire to inspire before you expire.”
Dr. Coley was named to her current post in October 2015, but she is no stranger to Russell County schools. The Hurtsboro native graduated from Russell County High School in 1984. She received her bachelor’s degree from Auburn University before receiving a master’s degree, and later an education specialist degree from Troy University. In 2015, she received her Doctorate of Education in administrative leadership from Walden University.
Dr. Coley’s education career spans nearly 29 years, all of which have been spent in Russell County.