The opportunity to play Division I football brought Bryce Wilson to EKU, his faith in God sustained his academic and athletic career through injuries, loss of family members, and ultimately the end of his football career, and his mental toughness guided him through his last semesters at EKU when a pandemic changed the way the world worked for more than a year.
Wilson told the story of his journey through EKU as the College of Business and Technology graduation speaker. He said fighting through the last year during a pandemic showed him what being mentally tough truly means.
“What I can tell you is that every person here with a cap and gown on, has fought through one of the most unique times in modern history,” Wilson told his classmates during his speech at the College of Business and Technology graduation ceremonies in May.
Wilson came to Eastern on a football scholarship, and as students often do, said it immediately felt like home. “Some of my favorite memories come from sharing meals with my teammates in the dining hall. It was a time that we were able to relax and enjoy each other’s company,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he learned the toughness it takes to succeed on and off the field from playing football as a youth and on through college. “I had a coach who always used to tell me, ‘toughness is like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger it gets.’ The fact that we are all in the celebratory position of this ceremony, is an indication of just how strong our toughness muscle has become,” Wilson told his classmates.
He gives credit to his upbringing, and the family that went through very difficult times as people of color in order for him to have the opportunity to succeed. “Some of my family members did not have the opportunity to get the quality education I received because of their skin color. I wanted them to see me on stage at a college graduation as a tribute to their sacrifices for my wellbeing. It was a blessing and an honor to be selected as the student speaker for my commencement ceremony,” Wilson said.
His advice for his fellow students was to always keep going, but remember what it was like to finish their studies during a very challenging time. “I believe that this class of exceptional people was forced to deal with “the real world” earlier and in a much different way than any of our predecessors, while also maintaining a high level of excellence during our last step before the rest of our adult lives. We have been equipped to conquer our wildest dreams by choosing to stay on the path of the unforeseeable future.”
Wilson is already in the workforce as a financial planner. He said he plans to continue his career as a financial professional at OneCommonwealth Financial Group.