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TTU News

NASA astronaut Barry Wilmore has logged hundreds of hours in space, but he gave down-to-earth advice to more than 1,100 Tennessee Tech University graduates on Saturday.

“Here’s the one word I want you to remember—integrity,” Wilmore said.

“Be a man or woman of your word.  Think of others over yourself.  When decisions loom, put yourself in the shoes of those who your decisions will affect.  Be honest, don’t cheat on your taxes, don’t lie to your boss, don’t cheat on your spouse, don’t deceive so you can get what you want or what you think is best.”

He cautioned his audience, a capacity crowd in Hooper Eblen Center, to loose the mindset that the end justifies the means.

“People lie, cheat, steal, and deceive so they can get what they want, or get people to do what they want.  And in my opinion, it is a travesty.

“Because when you lie, deceive, cheat, use trickery, shams and frauds, the truth is that invoking these into your lives yields results that reach far beyond ourselves.  Lying and deception breaks up homes, kills friendships, results in significant financial loses and ruins lives,” he said.

Wilmore told graduates that he hoped they would remember the message and not the messenger years from now.

“I would hope that when asked about you, that others say ‘That’s one person you can trust.  They’re a person of their word.  They love their family and it’s obvious that they care a great deal about others.’

“You’ve got one life. Give it your all for the good of others and you’ll live a much happier and fulfilled life.”

Before addressing the audience, Wilmore accepted a 2010 TTU Outstanding Alumnus Award from President Bob Bell.

Students who graduated from TTU this spring hail from 23 states, 77 Tennessee counties and eight foreign countries. They represented 41 undergraduate fields of study and 16 graduate fields.

Nine graduates received doctorates: Neeharika Anantharaju, Wael A. Deabes, Martha Johanna Howard, Judith Lwitiko Mwakalonge, Alisha Pendergrass, Juan M. Sanez, Derick Carl Weis, Kim McGee Wright, Tiantian Xie.

Following spring commencement, TTU will have granted more than 67,000 degrees.