Latta challenges students to become leaders, life-long learners

Forrest Latta, a 1980 TROY graduate and a member of the TROY Board of Trustees, addresses those in attendance at Monday night's Honors Convocation.

Forrest Latta, a 1980 TROY graduate and a member of the TROY Board of Trustees, addresses those in attendance at Monday night's Honors Convocation.

Troy University alumnus and Board of Trustee member Forrest Latta encouraged students to carry forward the leadership tools they have received at TROY and to make it their goal to become life-long learners.

Speaking during Monday night’s Honor Convocation on the Troy Campus, Latta recalled his days at TROY and what it was like to be a part of such a milestone event in the life of the University.

“I still remember what it was like to sit out there in the audience and to be able to rub shoulders with some of the best of the best from Troy University,” he said. “You students may not realize this, but you are sitting beside future generals and admirals, CEOs and CFOs, judges and lawyers, teachers and professors, doctors, mayors and other public leaders. You know how I know this? I have followed the careers of many of my own classmates and fellow students from when I was here. There is an important lesson here tonight and that is whatever you do in life, find the best people and hang out with them. When we surround ourselves with great people, it makes us better.”

Latta told the gathering that he wished he could speak with each student and hear about their TROY experience and what led them to the ceremony.

“I’m sure it has something to do with the professors and teachers who have inspired you,” he said. “One of the things that I am most proud of in my role on the Board of Trustees is the brilliant faculty we have at TROY. I was reading a book by Adam Grant recently and he said ‘Good teachers introduce you to great thoughts, but great teachers introduce you to new ways of thinking.’ TROY is blessed to have a wonderful team of great teachers and professors under the leadership of one of America’s longest-serving Chancellors. He has been a transformative leader for this University and it has been a pleasure to serve with Dr. Hawkins. I’m just so proud of what we are seeing happen, even today, on the Troy Campus.”

Latta also encouraged students to not let their life be defined by a paycheck.

“If you do, your happiness will be tied to the ups and downs of the job market or worse yet, to the things you own. You’ve heard it said before, and it is true, the keys to economic mobility in America are education and hard work. Everybody respects those things, but it is what happens in your mind that defines the person you become. Tonight, in this room full of scholars, I hope you will make it one of your goals to keep investing in the life of the mind, to continue on this path of learning for your whole life.”

Latta said it was important for carry forward the tools and lessons TROY has taught them.

“TROY is a lot of great things, and one of them is the culture of building character, of building self-confidence, of taking great people and turning them into leaders,” he said. “Tonight, you are being recognized as one of those people, and I hope you will carry it with you for the rest of your life. It is up to you to make it so.”

Latta, a 1980 TROY honors graduate, is a partner in the firm of Burr & Forman LLP and currently serves as President of the Mobile Bar Association, one of the nation’s oldest. He also sits on the Alabama Board of Bar Examiners, the Alabama Rules of Evidence committee, and is a Fellow in the Alabama and American Bar Foundations.

He has been a member of Troy University’s Board of Trustees since 2005. He earned his law degree from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law in 1983.

Held each spring, the Honors Convocation honors students in each of the University’s five colleges for their academic and leadership achievements, in addition to recognizing those who have been inducted into honor societies. Photos from Monday night’s convocation are available online at: