5/9/2015 ASHLAND, Ohio – Sue Ramsey, who will retire this year after 20 seasons as head women’s basketball coach at Ashland University, challenged Ashland University graduates to set goals and maintain a positive attitude in her address at AU’s spring commencement ceremony on May 9.
In her speech, titled “Hide or Seek,” Ramsey began her thoughts with a Bible verse, Matthew 7: 7-8, that says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you shall find; knock and it will be open. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and the one who knocks it will be open.”
Ramsey talked about how important it is for students to set goals in life and outlined a number of items as part of that objective, including “the need to know where you are going in order to know what to do to get there.”
“What a great word ‘seek’ is. Seek and you shall find. It is a daily choice where you go and how you go about doing what you are supposed to do,” Ramsey said. “G stands for goals. You all set a goal to be a college graduate and today you are. Congratulations, that’s a great accomplishment. And what is next, you have goals in mind.
“But I content that without a vision those goals won’t come true. And it is going to be a lot harder to accomplish those goals unless you have a vision,” she said. “Get a vision on what you are supposed to do. Think about who you are, what God has blessed you with and what you are going to do from this point on in setting the vision for your life.”
Ramsey noted that the O today stands for outlook or your attitude, and talked about how important it is for students to have a positive outlook and attitude. “First, I would encourage you to choose to be positive, to be optimistic. How often and easy is it to shout out that criticism and forget to give the praise. Shout praise and whisper criticism,” she said.
“The second thing is gratitude and thankfulness. I challenge you to go on a gratitude walk and think about all the things you have in your life to be grateful for. Right now we have a lot to be grateful for as we sit here,” she said. “The third one is either fear or faith – you can’t have both – choose fear or faith. It is your choice every day and I encourage you to choose faith.”
Ramsey then asked how many in the crowd have ever failed at something.
“We all have failed at something,” she said. “We all have failure but it is how we approach the failures in our lives that will make a big difference in your walk from this point on. I encourage you to embrace failure.”
Ramsey said she loves the saying of a colleague who is no longer with us, Kay Yow, who said -- “When life kicks you (and it will) let it kick you forward.”
“Think about that. Failure provides each of us with a great opportunity to decide how much we really want something. Will you give up or will you dig deeper, commit more, work harder and learn to get better,” she said. “If you know what it is that you truly want you will be willing to pay the price of success to get it. And that is what goes back to the vision and the goals you have in your life.”
Ramsey said she knows that everyone will fail at some time, and asked them to remember – “that the failure does not define you. It is meant to refine you to be all that you are meant to be. So embrace failure.”
“So as you go forth and you seek whatever is next in your life, I encourage you to do so with a vision based upon the goals, based upon the abilities that you have, and to seek to choose the outlook every day,” she said. “And this is not just for the graduates, this is for all of us. Positive optimism, show gratitude and thankfulness, choose faith over fear, choose to embrace that failure will not define you but will refine you, and choose to be humble.”
She concluded with “May you always have enough happiness to keep you sweet, enough trials to keep you strong, enough success to keep you eager, enough faith to give you courage and enough determination to make each day extraordinary.”
Following the commencement address, the presentation of degrees was handled by Interim President Dr. William Crothers and Interim Provost Dr. Doug Fiore. A total of 1,079 degrees (488 graduate and 591 undergraduate) were awarded in the spring 2015 ceremony, including 10 doctor of education, 244 master of education, 167 master of business administration, 49 master of arts, two master of American history and government, 16 master of fine arts in creative writing, 102 bachelor of arts, four bachelor of music, 146 bachelor of science, 81 bachelor of science in business administration, 136 bachelor of science in education, 103 bachelor of science in nursing, 14 bachelor of science in social work, two bachelor of fine arts and three associate of arts.
Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students. ###