Retiring TROY leader urges graduates to live purposefully

Dr. Earl Ingram speaks to about 130 graduates at Troy University's fall 2018 commencement at the Dothan Campus,

Dr. Earl Ingram speaks to about 130 graduates at Troy University's fall 2018 commencement at the Dothan Campus,

Everyone looks good at the starting line. It’s getting to the finish line that matters.

Troy University Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Earl Ingram delivered that message to about 130 graduates during commencement exercises Sunday at the Dothan Civic Center.

Ingram, who is retiring after 31 years at TROY, told the graduates that the ceremony was indeed the beginning of a new journey, and he urged them to take the lessons they’ve learned in college and apply them to a purpose.

“The same deliberate thinking you used to get here, you will apply after today to work, to family and, very likely, to more formal education,” Ingram said. “You have the most important work of your life ahead. Think about doing something important.”

He told the graduates to “live purposeful lives,” setting goals and pursuing them with determination.

“An educated person is not afraid to think about a change, not afraid of embracing change,” Ingram said. “What is your higher purpose going to be — to sit back, observe and be served, or to think about how you can work to serve others in your community?”

During the ceremony, TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., praised Ingram for his years of service and dedication.

“Earl Ingram is the embodiment of (our) culture,” he said. “And he has helped change the culture of Troy University into Alabama’s international university. On behalf of a very grateful university, I thank him for his service.”

Before his time at TROY, Ingram served on active duty with the U.S. Army from 1966 to 1971 in numerous operational, training and staff positions in aviation units, the Field Artillery and the Air Defense Artillery. While on active duty, he served in an Assault Helicopter Company and on a Combat Aviation Battalion operations staff in the Republic of Vietnam and was decorated for valor, receiving the Bronze Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and Unit Citations.