Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Chief Operating Officer and TROY alum Brad Kimbro gave graduates six pieces of advice to live by during his keynote address at TROY Dothan’s Fall Commencement ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 18.
Over 100 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees during the 3 p.m. ceremony held at the Dothan Civic Center.
“This day marks a transition in your journey down the road of life. You will now be traveling in a new direction that will not only be exciting and full of opportunities, but will also be challenging and at times a bit uncertain,” Kimbro said. “You leave this wonderful institution with the benefit of an outstanding education—you’re well-versed in your areas of study and are well-equipped with the skills you will need to build your careers.
“You must remember that you are in the driver’s seat, and you can and will determine which course to take.”
To help the graduates along their course, he offered six truths that have helped him through life, starting with his most important: faith and trust. Kimbro said he lives by Romans 8:28, which reads, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose.”
Kimbro said not to be discouraged when life doesn’t go according to plan—there could be better things in store.
“Even in bad times, just know and have faith that He is always in control,” he said. “I would not be standing here before you today if my plan had worked out.”
Next, Kimbro advised to listen more than you speak, to have a positive outlook and to intentionally cultivate good relationships with those around you.
“Life is nothing but a relationship, and the better you are at relationships, the better you will be as a spouse, parent, coworker, leader, friend… try to always attempt to hear the other person’s perspective and where they’re coming from,” he said. “It will help you develop, foster and maintain those positive relationships. You never know who’s watching you or who you might be a blessing to.”
His third point stressed the importance of dependability, accountability and being a person of integrity.
“Be trustworthy. Let your ‘yes’ mean yes and your ‘no’ mean no. People will respect you when they can count on you and know your word is true,” Kimbro said. “They might not always like what you say, but they will trust what you say if you have that accountable and dependable ‘yes’ and ‘no.’”
Kimbro’s fourth and fifth points emphasized the value of saying “please” and “thank you” and in always going the extra mile. He also spoke about the importance of being a good communicator and having confidence.
“They really are magic words; you do catch more flies with honey. Always be willing to say thank you, and thank people by name. People will help you in life, and we need to be thankful for that help,” he said. “Always be willing to go the extra mile. Excellence needs to be a habit and not an act. In my life, I might not always be the smartest person or have the best ideas, but no one will beat my work ethic.”
Lastly, Kimbro encouraged the graduates to challenge themselves and to find their purpose.
“Every person was born into this world for a reason, so find your purpose in life. Get up each day thinking about that purpose and try to do something that will make a positive difference in your community, in your state, in your world,” he said. “Be ready to challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone. Believe that you are good enough—if not you, then who? Life is quick, go for your dream today.”