Singleton challenges graduates to be a blessing to others

Montgomery County Commission Chair Doug Singleton addresses graduates at TROY's Montgomery Campus.

Montgomery County Commission Chair Doug Singleton addresses graduates at TROY's Montgomery Campus.

Montgomery County Commission Chairman Doug Singleton encouraged Troy University graduates on Monday to commit to finding ways to be a blessing to others.

Speaking to 125 graduates during Monday night’s spring commencement ceremony at TROY’s Montgomery Campus, Singleton pointed to three things that others will ask of the graduates at some point in the future.

“There are three things that one day your employees, your spouse, your friends are going to ask of you – can I trust you, are you committed, and do you care about me as a person or only about what I can do for you,” he said. “Be a blessing to somebody. Don’t go through life looking for blessings. Look for ways to be a blessing to others.”

Singleton told graduates that as he considered what message to share with them, he considered talking about how to be successful. However, he noted that there are thousands of books written about success. Instead, he chose an acronym for the word fail to remind graduates of life’s potential pitfalls.

“I’ve failed a lot more than I have succeeded in my life, so I have an acronym for fail,” he said. “The ‘F’ stands for failing to forgive. If you hold grudges in your life that’s kind of like taking poison and hoping the other person gets sick. If you get bitten by a snake, you don’t chase after the snake, you begin the healing process. You have to choose to be mad. I love what the great pitcher Satchel Paige once said, ‘I will never allow a man to control my life by making me hate him.’”

The second letter, Singleton said, stands for attitude.

“What’s your attitude? Attitude is the one thing I have in my life that I have complete control over,” he said. “It is a matter of ‘have to’ versus ‘get to.’ How do we talk? Do we say, tomorrow, you have to go to work? I look at it as you get to go to work tomorrow because there are so many people who can’t find jobs. It is important that we develop and keep an attitude of gratitude.”

Singleton labeled the letter ‘I’ in fail as inconsiderate and encouraged graduates to think about the kind of legacy they want to leave for their children or those around them.

TROY Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. honored Montgomery Campus Vice Chancellor Ray White for his 30 years of service to the University during the ceremony.

“Let me challenge you over the next 30 days to treat everybody you come in contact as if they are the most important person in the world,” he said. “You never know how many people may be hurting or what a difference that can make in their lives.”

Finally, Singleton said the ‘L’ stood for lazy.

“The magic we have been missing is in the work that we have been avoiding,” he told graduates. “Nowadays everything is about rights and privileges. It used to be about responsibilities and obligations. The wealthiest place in the world is the graveyard because there are so many dreams and ideas that are buried there. Don’t take your dreams and your ideas with you to the graveyard. Ideas are only good after someone carries them out. God has bigger plans for us than what we have for ourselves.”

Also, during Monday night’s ceremony, Troy University honored Ray White, Vice Chancellor of the Montgomery Campus, who will be retiring after 30 years of service to the University. White has served as Vice President and Vice Chancellor at the Montgomery campus for two terms, totaling 23 years, and served the University as head of human resources for three years.

Prior to joining TROY, White had a distinguished career in the U.S. Air Force, earning the rank of Chief Master Sergeant and serving as Commandant for the USAF Senior NCO Academy. He and his wife Jo have two daughters, Christie Toelkes and Kim Traff.

“I want to say a hardy thank you to Ray White,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr. Chancellor as he presented White with a special resolution honoring his years of service. “He has been an integral part of our leadership team, and I want to say, on behalf of the Troy University family, how proud we are of him. Thank you, Ray for a job well done and for your leadership. He truly is the epitome of a servant leader.”