Coleman encourages TROY graduates to make a difference, continue to learn from life’s lessons

Jeff Coleman, TROY alumnus, Chairman of Coleman World Group and Chair of the Troy University Foundation, speaks during fall commencement on Friday.

Jeff Coleman, TROY alumnus, Chairman of Coleman World Group and Chair of the Troy University Foundation, speaks during fall commencement on Friday.

Troy University alumnus and successful businessman Jeff Coleman encouraged TROY graduates to utilize the skills they have been equipped with through their education to make a difference in the world.

The Dothan native who is chairman of the Coleman World Group addressed more than 700 graduates representing 33 states and 17 countries on Friday inside Trojan Arena on the Troy Campus. While Coleman was proud to address the latest graduating class at his alma mater, the day provided an even greater sense of pride.

Coleman served as Chairman of the Alabama Commission on Higher Education in 2007 when TROY’s first doctoral degree was approved – the Doctor of Nursing Practice. On Friday, his daughter, Frances Coleman Chambers, was among the 16 students to receive the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.

“You never know when in life the seeds that you plant and nourish will have an impact on your life down the road,” Coleman said. “I very honored and extremely proud that my daughter will be receiving her DNP today as a part of this graduating class.”

Friday’s ceremony saw more than 700 students graduate, representing 33 states and 17 countries.

Coleman told graduates that earning their degree was a tremendous accomplishment, but it also represented a beginning of new things to come.

“This is a remarkable day that is representative of the many, many years of commitment, dedication and hard work you have put in to earn a college degree. You are to be highly commended because today marks a great achievement in your life, something that you will always remember and take pride in,” he said. “As a graduate of Troy University, you are joining a well-respected and prestigious group of citizens. You will have the distinct opportunity to make a difference in your community, your state, your country and the world. I am confident that Troy University has prepared you well to make a significant contribution to society and your fellow man.”

Coleman encouraged graduates to put the skills they have acquired to make a difference.

“For the vast majority of you, the path to receiving your college degree has taken many steps of unbelievable effort and fortitude,” he said. “Through this experience, you have been molded into a vessel of great capacity that will make a change for the good in this world. I want to strongly encourage each of you to apply yourselves in your respective callings and to do so with respect, love and with selfless service.”

Coleman likened life to a classroom that continuously provides lessons to be learned.

“Live the three ‘E’s’ – go out into this world with energy, enthusiasm and empathy. Don’t have negative thoughts about things you cannot control, but instead, invest your energy in the positive present moment,” he said. “Realize that life is a school; you are here to learn. Problems are simply a part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra lessons did many years ago in your lifetime. Always strive to do your very best and let God handle the rest. One life can make a difference, so go out and make a difference in your communities.”