Through adversity, challenges and obstacles, never lose hope and never lose faith.
Troy University graduates received this message Sunday during Dothan Campus commencement exercises at the Dothan Civic Center, as retired Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Administration Dr. John Schmidt delivered the keynote address.
Schmidt told students they must maintain their faith through trials and tribulations that will arise throughout their lives.
Emphasizing the importance of leadership in the world today, Schmidt said graduates should look to inspire others.
“Leaders are like candles that burn themselves out giving light to others,” he said. “What a message of hope – giving light to others.”
Schmidt also encouraged the 117 graduates to show kindness to others in ways both big and small.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” he said.
When faced with adversity, Schmidt said, graduates can be tempted to be angry or to lose their faith in God.
“God plays a central role. He’s always with us, and He only waits for us to ask. He’ll answer in His own way and His own time,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt recently retired from his position as Senior Vice Chancellor for Student Services and Administration at TROY, and he is a retired U.S. Marine Corps Colonel.
Engaged in teaching students, he crafted a foreign policy course for honors students and has taught numerous leadership courses augmenting class programs. His dissertation resulted in the creation of a Dean of First Year Studies and a campus reading program.
He is the past president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and implemented the first strategic planning process for economic growth. He is also the past president of the Troy Rotary Club. He is past chairman of the USS Alabama Battleship Commission and past chair of the Alabama Historical Commission.
In the U.S. Marine Corps, he commanded at all levels from Vietnam, Desert Shield/Storm, Bosnia and Haiti. He is a graduate of the Air War College and is an honor graduate of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Further, he was selected by the U.S. Marine Corps to attend the University of Wisconsin in Madison, where he earned a master’s degree in journalism. He was awarded the doctorate of education from Nova Southeastern University in fall 2004.