Commencement Speaker Provides Advice for Ashland University Spring Graduates

Commencement Speaker Provides Advice for Ashland University Spring Graduates

5/5/18 ASHLAND, Ohio – Tracy Ringo, a doctor of Osteopathic Medicine and a member of the Ohio Army National Guard, challenged Ashland University graduates to maintain a positive attitude in life in her address at AU’s spring commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 5.

The commencement was held outside under partly sunny skies at Jack Miller Stadium in the University’s Schar Athletic Complex. Ringo recently opened a new solo practice in Garfield Heights, Ohio, called Exclusively Skin, and her focus in this practice is on diseases of the skin.

In her speech titled “Pursue Positive,” Tracy told the AU graduates that a lot of people do not “take time out to enjoy our accomplishments. I want to impress upon you that you do that today because this is truly an accomplishment.”

“In this world today, we are bombarded with things that are not positive -- the internet, television, radio. We have to demand a change – we want to see things that are positive,” she said. “A lot of time we can make things that are not positive go viral. And my charge and challenge to you today is to hashtag ‘Pursue Positive’ and make that go viral.”

Tracy asked that graduates showcase people doing good works and doing good things.

“And I know there are so many stories here that are right in front of me. Young people today have become numb with all the things that are around them. I want us to pursue positive and I want positive to become the new norm,” she said.

Tracy told the graduates that if they don’t have someone to encourage them, that they need to give themselves positive affirmation. “That’s what they make sticky notes and post-its for. Put it on your mirror and tell yourself you are worthy, you are good, that you will succeed, know it and believe it because it is true,” she said.

“All the graduates have a common foundation as they sit here on this campus at this university. Ashland University is where you all blossomed. I challenge you all as you leave this University, to pursue positive and be a beacon of light for those that are around you,” she said. “Some doors may close for you but you know what the saying is – another one will open, it always does…maybe not in our timing but always in God’s timing. You may have to go around the back door to get in or you may just have to kick down the front door. But in the process – pursue positive.”

Tracy told graduates not to let anyone steal their joy.

“As you embark in this new journey in your life, as you pave your path through this world, and you make your mark on society, it is my plea that you pursue positive,” she said. “When you think that no one is looking – and you know someone is always looking -- I urge you to pursue positive. In the midst of the storm, in the darkness because we know there will always be those dark days – pursue positive.”

Tracy then quoted Proverbs 3: 5-6, noting – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all that you do and he shall direct your path.”  

“This is my prayer for you graduates -- for you to go out into the world and pursue positive. Be that successful person that I know you can be. Help others along the way and know that we are all proud. Enjoy this day, enjoy your family and good luck,” she concluded.

Ringo is the first African American female in the Ohio Army National Guard to reach the rank of Colonel and is currently the highest ranking African American female in the Guard in the state of Ohio. This year, she is celebrating her 30th year of service to her country.

And AU’s spring commencement this year celebrated the 140th anniversary of the University.

Following the commencement address, the presentation of degrees was handled by President Dr. Carlos Campo and Provost Dr. Eun-Woo Chang. A total of 757 degrees (256 graduate and 501 undergraduate) were awarded in the spring 2018 ceremony, including 3 doctor of education, 9 doctor of nursing, 110 master of education, 113 master of business administration, 18 master of arts, 3 master of science, 82 bachelor of arts, 2 bachelor of fine arts, 1 bachelor of music, 92 bachelor of science, 4 bachelor of science in athletic training , 58 bachelor of science in business administration, 84 bachelor of science in education, 70 bachelor of science in nursing, 12 bachelor of science in social work, 95 associate of arts and 1 associate of science.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2018, is a mid-sized, comprehensive private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Religiously affiliated with the Brethren Church, Ashland University ( deeply 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. ###