Whitehead encourages TROY graduates to pursue dreams, become leaders and serve

Dr. Jason Whitehead delivers the keynote address to graduates at the University's Phenix City Campus and Fort Benning location on Friday.

Dr. Jason Whitehead delivers the keynote address to graduates at the University's Phenix City Campus and Fort Benning location on Friday.

Dr. Jason Whitehead, Executive Director of the Phenix City Housing Authority, encouraged Troy University graduates to embrace the next phase of their lives with the same discipline and drive that led them to receive their diplomas.

Delivering the keynote address to graduates of the University’s Phenix City Campus and Fort Benning location on Friday at the Columbus Convention and Trade Center, Whitehead congratulated the graduating class on their accomplishment during a challenging time in history.

“In one of the most difficult seasons in history, you have had the discipline, the fortitude, the fight, the courage and the tenacity to complete your studies,” he said. “In spite of all the chaos, you are exiting Troy University as a graduate. I encourage you to enter the next phase of your life with the same discipline, fortitude, fight, courage and tenacity that you devoted to completing yours studies. The world will not give you anything. You must strategically navigate life.”

Whitehead encouraged graduates to approach the next phase of life with a positive attitude.

“Your perspective will significantly impact how successful you are in this next season of your life,” he said. “I encourage you to maintain a positive attitude, no matter how dark the day. Just like you completed your degree, you can fulfill your dreams, aspirations and goals. Your commencement this evening is the starting line for the greatest days of your life. Today marks the beginning of your greatness. The degree you receive today is the foundation for your future success.”

Life’s challenges only present greater opportunities, he told graduates.

“Think through your next strategic endeavor,” Whitehead said. “Accomplish the goals you have contemplated. Fulfill the desires of your heart and mind. You are the next generation of leaders. You have not triumphed to sit on the bench. You have overcome these challenges to lead. You have conquered hardship to help. Rise up, and I encourage you to serve. We need your skills, your talents and your mind. The world continues to change, and we need men and women who can help us navigate this new landscape.” 

As Executive Director, Whitehead is responsible for managing five developments that include 745 Public Housing units and 76 Rental Assistance Demonstration units. He also oversees 752 Housing Choice Voucher units, manages millions of dollars and employs over 30 individuals.

Whitehead previously served as Chief Executive Officer for the Youngstown (Ohio) Metropolitan Housing Authority, where he led the EnVision Center to assist individuals with self-sufficiency by Economic Empowerment, Educational Advancement, Health and Wellness, and Character and Leadership. Prior to his work in Public Housing, Dr. Whitehead served as the Chief of Staff to the Mayor of Youngstown, focusing on community and economic development.