TTU graduates encouraged to keep tenacity, accountability and sense of humor

Tenacity, accountability and a sense of humor -- college graduates need to demonstrate all three traits to prepare for their futures, according to Connie J. Smith when she addressed some 800 graduates, plus families and friends, at Tennessee Tech University's fall commencement Saturday.

Now assistant commissioner of accountability, teaching and learning for the State of Tennessee Department of Education, Smith said she went from Toad Suck, Ark., to Cookeville to New York City on her 30-year path to her current career.

"Back then, economic times where tough as they are now; you are under a great deal of pressure to perform as we were," Smith said. " You never know where you are going to end up."

Smith encouraged tenacity in study habits, sports, and self-confidence and reminded graduates to keep a sense of humor. She also told students that they have a duty to give back.

"We need to give back to society once we pass the hurdles you've passed today," she said.

Smith concluded by advising students to be able to articulate their visions for the future and plan for action.

"Vision, focus and planning are the final characteristics I believe are critical at this juncture in your future," said Smith.

The university celebrated two firsts with these commencement exercises.   The first fall School of Nursing class graduated as a result of the completion of the new Nursing and Health Services Building that opened in August. TTU's Regents Online Degree Program also presented the first master's degree of professional studies awarded by the university.

Following fall commencement, TTU has granted more than 64,000 degrees.

Students who graduated from TTU this fall hail from 12 states including Tennessee, 68 Tennessee counties and 16 foreign countries. They represented 40 undergraduate fields of study and 21 graduate fields.

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