Symphony Conductor Gives Advice to Ashland University Graduates

Arie Lipsky

5/5/12 ASHLAND, Ohio -- “Ashland University has given you the necessary instruments to be good leaders in whatever endeavor you choose to engage. Use them in the best possible way with quality and integrity.”

That was the challenge that Ashland Symphony conductor and music director Arie Lipsky presented to graduates during his commencement address at Ashland University’s Spring Commencement ceremony held on Saturday, May 5, at Miller Stadium in the University’s Schar Athletic Complex.

In his speech, titled “Amazing Grace,” Lipsky told the graduates that when they act with quality and integrity, success and prosperity surely will follow.

“Each of you represent the future and aspirations of America. Because of your AU education, you will each treasure and cherish these most fundamental, most American values,” Lipsky said. “But in the real world, do these ideals always hold? Whether they do or do not, will depend entirely on you.”

Lipsky told the graduates that he believes that good and evil, right and wrong do exist.

“This is a clear lesson of our history. We need to sing the praise of the good. We cannot be embarrassed to expose the evil nor be afraid to criticize the wrong,” he said. “These days we are too much surrounded by an atmosphere of political correctness. Sometimes, in an effort not to offend others in this multi-cultural world, we tend to play the wrong notes or the wrong rhythms.”

Lipsky said the challenges in life sometimes seem so difficult that people allow themselves to think that nothing can be done.

“Not true. Apply your creative imaginations to everything you do. Nurture them always with the excellence and values taught here at AU,” he said. “Make these graces, excellence and values the foundations of your futures.”

Lipsky described his personal perspective on the subject of freedom and liberty, ideals which he said are at the very core of the Judeo-Christian values. To do that, he shared some biographical details of his family, which included that his parents were born in Poland.

“The achievement of the great American possibility, continues like a musician, with diligent practice, and is founded on and nourished by simple, abiding belief in yourselves and your country,” he said. “I wish you all a most successful and thriving journey as you begin the next movement in your symphony of life.”

Lipsky ended his speech by playing the hymn “Amazing Grace” on his flute and asking the audience to sing the first and third verses of the song.

Following the commencement address, the presentation of degrees was handled by President Fred Finks and Provost Dr. Frank Pettigrew. A total of 617 degrees (244 graduate and 373 undergraduate) were awarded in the spring 2012 ceremony, including three doctor of education, 169 master of education, 68 master of business administration, four master of American history and government, 54 bachelor of arts, one bachelor of music, 76 bachelor of science, 55 bachelor of science in business administration, 100 bachelor of science in education, 66 bachelor of science in nursing, 14 bachelor of science in social work, three bachelor of fine arts, and four 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 2012, 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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