Liz Filmore, a two-time Troy University alumna and Chief of Staff to Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, encouraged Troy University graduates to be prepared for the unexpected in life and to always seek ways to care for others and give back to their communities.
Speaking to nearly 150 graduates at the University’s Montgomery Campus on Monday night, Filmore commended graduates on the hard work and commitment they had demonstrated to reach this milestone.
“No matter what age or stage in your working career, obtaining a college degree is one of the most important achievements someone can do to enrich their lives,” she said. “Whether you are graduating tonight with a degree in business, education, nursing or another field, chances are you will never have a better opportunity to find a job and achieve your career goals than you do today. No matter your chosen field, each one of you in the class of 2023 is well positioned to make a positive difference for yourselves, your families and our state as you receive your diploma.”
Filmore remembered her time as a TROY student and how the University’s founding motto – Educate the mind to think, the Heart to feel and the Body to act — still serves as a guide for her life.
Filmore developed a passion for journalism during her first week as a TROY freshman when she attended a journalism major interest session in the University’s Hall School of Journalism and Communication. Lessons learned in the classroom and through hands-on experience educated her mind to think in ways that still serve her well today in her current role.
“The Hall School of Journalism equipped my mind to think by providing real-life experiences that prepared me for the job market,” she said. “Today, I lead a team of 60 intelligent, capable, hardworking and loyal individuals. My journalism education equipped me with the confidence in my ability to think critically and clearly when addressing the complex and constant changes our state faces each day. It also has provided me confidence in my day-to-day as I advise the Governor on policies and messaging to make sure Alabama is the very best it can be.”
It was also a mission trip she participated in with fellow students during her time at TROY that helped to drive on the second tenant of the founding motto – educate the heart to feel.
“In December 2010, I joined a group of Troy University students on a mission trip to an orphanage in Guatemala. During our visit, we wrapped Christmas presents, loved on children and visited areas of that country that are basically unreached. It was an amazing experience and helped me to understand what a privilege it is to live in America and have the opportunity to attend college,” she told graduates. “That trip truly helps me make decisions with compassion, and it serves as a constant reminder that even on my worst days there is someone less fortunate than myself. In my current role I am tasked with addressing the needs and issues of real Alabama citizens like you – things you face each day. Alabama is home to over 5 million people from all walks of life. My ability to feel in the heart of their circumstances is a direct result of my time at TROY.”
Filmore said her passion for public service began in 2006 as she attended Girls State at TROY’s campus and was solidified later through an internship with the Alabama Legislature and the curriculum she encountered in her master’s degree program at TROY.
“My passion for public service started back in 2006 when I attended Alabama Girls State on Troy University’s campus and the opportunity and privilege to meet my boss Governor Kay Ivey for the first time,” she said. “Both Girls State and my internship in the Alabama Legislature opened the door for me to fulfill my passion and get me where I am today. I try to make a conscious effort every single day to act in ways that will give back to our state and its citizens, and I am constantly encouraging others to get involved in government and make a difference.”
Recalling an interview several years ago with what at the time was the wealthiest man in the State of Alabama, Filmore drew from his response to a journalist’s question about how it felt to bear that title to encourage and guide graduates as they embarked on their future endeavors.
“The man said wealth is not defined by how much money you have, but how you live your life. Our actions are what matter. To whom much is given, much is expected,” she told graduates. “As you graduate from Troy University tonight, let those words and our own Troy University motto continue to guide and encourage you for the rest of your life. It has worked for me, and I am confident that it can work for you as well. As you embark upon your careers, I want you to be prepared for the unexpected. Be prepared for the ups and downs. Be prepared for life to travel in a different direction. Be prepared to enjoy yourself. And most of all, be prepared to love and to give back.”