Professor Emeritus Gives Advice to Ashland University Graduates

Professor Emeritus Gives Advice to Ashland University Graduates

12/15/12 ASHLAND, Ohio – “Strive not to become so much a person of success, but rather strive to become a person of value.”

That quote from Albert Einstein was the challenge that Ashland University Professor Emeritus Dr. Donald Rinehart presented to graduates during his commencement address at Ashland University’s Winter Commencement ceremony held on Dec. 15 in the University’s Kates Gymnasium.

In his speech, titled “Moving from Success to Significance,” Rinehart told the graduates that they are well on their way to becoming “a person of success” because they will be walking across the stage and receiving a signed diploma today. “These are wonderful steps to mark your successful completion of degree requirements,” he said.

But Rinehart, who received his bachelor of science in education in 1959 from Ashland College, then outlined for graduates how they can take the next step in an effort to become a person of value.

“Like many of us who are still learning the lessons of life, we discover that we have to peddle fast and furious if we expect the ‘me’ mentality to give meaning and purpose to our lives,” he said. “If we are ever to move from success to significance to become a person of value, we have to find our own way and means to share with others who we are and what we know and then to celebrate with them their successes as well as our own.”

Rinehart presented graduates with a number of items that he learned along the way -- things that he said helped move him to become more of a person of value.

These included:

  • At age 15 or 16, he learned that, although he did not want to admit it, that he was secretly glad that his parents were strict with him.
  • At age 19 or 20, he learned that it was good to cheer someone up, because it would help to cheer him up. “I learned it’s not only about me, but about others,” he said.
  • At age 21, he learned that his parents in the last four years had learned just as much as he had, even without going to college.
  • At age 32, he learned that watching our children succeed in anything is one of life’s great pleasures.
  • At age 40, he learned that if someone said something unkind about him, he needed to live his life so no one would believe it.
  • At age 46, he learned that whenever he decided something with kindness, he would usually make a good decision.
  • At the forty something age, he learned that making a living is different than making a life.
  • At the age of 75, which he is now, he learned that he still has a lot to learn.

“Each of you holds a very precious stone in your hearts and minds, it’s called education, it’s called learning. And the only way it will have a value to you is if you share it with the world,” he said. “I would also tell you to please remember that when you go out into the world, what you remembered in kindergarten, hold hands and stick together,” he said.

Following the commencement address, the presentation of degrees was handled by President Fred Finks and Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew. A total of 523 degrees (370 graduate and 153 undergraduate) were awarded in the winter 2012 ceremony, including three doctor of education, 228 master of education, 104 master of business administration, 15 master of American history and government, 20 master of fine arts in creative writing, 20 bachelor of arts, three bachelor of music, 32 bachelor of science, 34 bachelor of science in business administration, 42 bachelor of science in education, 20 bachelor of science in nursing, one bachelor of science in social work, and one associate of arts.

Ashland University, ranked in the top 200 colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2013, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( 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.

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