Shinseki, Kidd Address Degree Candidates at Fall Commencement

Commencement Photo

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Hall of Fame football coach Roy Kidd addressed 1,202 degree candidates at Eastern Kentucky University’s annual fall commencement on Saturday, Dec. 18.

A morning ceremony, featuring Shinseki as keynote speaker, recognized degree candidates from the Colleges of Education, Health Sciences and Justice & Safety. The afternoon ceremony, featuring Kidd, honored degree candidates from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences and Business & Technology.

 “Don’t let today be the end of your quest for knowledge,” Shinseki urged the graduates. “What you have achieved here at Eastern opens the door to lifelong learning where knowledge becomes a catalyst for growth and positive change.”

Shinseki, who received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University, also reminded the graduates to credit all those who have helped them to realize their educational dreams. “No one gets this far alone. Take time today to thank those who helped you get here.”

He also encouraged the graduates to share their time, talents and energies with those less fortunate. “Random acts of kindness are important,” he said, “but they are not enough. What is most needed are unselfish people who are regularly, habitually and deliberately kind, people who make caring for others a personal devotion.” 

In a fiery speech not unlike a pep talk to his team before a critical game, Kidd discussed the importance of working together toward common goals, working hard and exercising discipline and common sense, whatever the graduates’ chosen careers.

“Eastern gave me opportunity after opportunity, but you’ve got to work for those things,” said Kidd, a standout quarterback at Eastern who returned to his alma mater as head football coach in 1964. His teams went on to amass 315 victories and two I-AA national championships during a highly successful 39-year tenure. “When you get out in the world, you’re not going to have luck unless you work at it.”

Kidd, who received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from the University, also urged the graduates to remember their alma mater.

“Don’t forget where you got your education,” he said. “Give something back to the University.”

Speaking as representatives of their graduating class in the morning and afternoon ceremonies, respectively, were Abigail Love, of Cincinnati, and Derek Todd, of Eubank.

The honorees included 828 bachelor’s degree candidates, 265 master’s degree candidates, two doctoral degree candidates, and 107 associate degree candidates.

Both ceremonies can be viewed in their entirety at

Published on January 03, 2011

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