Troy University graduates from the Dothan Campus were encouraged to pursue their passions with passion, to serve others selflessly and be leaders of character who exemplify strong values daily.
Army Maj. Gen. William K. Gayler, commanding general of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, issued the challenge Sunday during his keynote address during commencement exercises in the Dothan Civic Center before about 120 graduating students and their guests.
“Now, more than ever, we need men and women of character, of commitment, and of competence to serve in our great nation – in uniform or out. Our society needs your leadership,” he said. “Never underestimate the power or reach of your decisions and actions, no matter how insignificant they may seem at the moment.”
Using the illustration of the “Butterfly Effect,” the scientific axiom coined by Professor Edward Lorenz that says very small motions can create large effects later, Gayler told graduates that many seemingly insignificant decisions could lead to major impacts.
“I think of the people who have made small recommendations that have had a huge impact on me … they are enormous impacts in time and space,” said Gayler, whose military career spans more than three decades. “One person made a decision and it had an impact far in the future.”
“Don’t shy away from challenges, but seize them. Do not be afraid to fail, but learn from each and every failure and make yourself better,” he said.
“Rise to the occasion and truly make a difference, because when you set things in motion, it is just like that butterfly. You may never know how far-reaching the effect of your actions will be,” said Gayler. “. . . Remember what you do in this life does truly matter and will echo across the ages for all eternity. Go forth and change the world for the better.”