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December 17, 2011

Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo shares life advice with ULM graduates

A former ULM graduate himself, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo (’79) found yet another way to give back to his alma mater when he delivered the keynote address to graduates during ULM's 2011 Fall Commencement, held at 10 a.m., Dec.17, in Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

A total of 480 degrees were awarded to fall 2011 graduates. A total of 201 degrees were also awarded to summer 2011 graduates participating in the ceremony.

Mayo began by praising ULM President Nick J. Bruno, Ph.D., and his administration. "The City of Monroe is proud to have multiple partnerships in education with ULM. And, we look forward to many years of continuing our strong relationship."

The mayor recalled his four years at ULM as filled with "hard work, fun, athletic activities, and newfound independence. I want to share pieces of advice. First, never stop learning. Second, you must have focus and balance in your life. And third, it’s not how you start…it’s how you finish that matters!"

He pointed out that ownership of material possessions could be transitory, but the knowledge the graduates gained would always be theirs.

"Never stop learning," Mayo said. "What you know can be the difference between being stuck in a dead-end job and being an executive for a Fortune 500 company.  Utilizing your talents and growing in knowledge will put you in a position to have the opportunity to reach back into your community and give others a chance at achieving their dreams.

"Don’t be afraid to embrace challenging things—like technology. In case you don’t know, something that is hot in America today is already several months old in Asia. Instead of playing catch up, we need some of you to be the next Steve Jobs. Never stop learning. You can create the next great breakthrough medicine, machine or device of the 21st Century!"

Mayo stated that he believed in utilizing the principle of the five "F’s,"  beginning with faith.

Second on the list, he said, is family. "Always make time for your family. Some people say family is like having friends that you cannot get rid of. But, I believe that establishing and maintaining a strong family structure provides the type of support system that can inspire you to overcome obstacles, break through ceilings and achieve greatness."

The mayor shared advice he had learned from many years of business experience: manage finances well. "Do all that you can to live with as few debts as possible. Save your money and make smart investments.  And, please never take advice from someone who is broke."

He shared his appreciation for fitness and for fun. "Make healthy lifestyle choices…enjoy life! Don’t be so caught up in trying to ascend the corporate ladder that you overlook all of the beautiful people, places and things that life has to offer you."

Mayo acknowledged that the college experience is different for everyone. "It does not matter how you started. At this moment, all that matters is that you did what it took to become part of the ULM Class of 2011.

"An educated life is like a great book. It opens the door to worlds of opportunity, exploration and innovation! Today, you start a brand new chapter in your book of life. We challenge you to complete the best seller that lives within all of you!"

Three top graduates earned 4.00 grade point averages for fall commencement: Lisa Elaine Cripps, an English major from Monroe and daughter of Elaine and Harold Cripps; Chandani Prakash Patel, an accounting major from Winnfield and daughter of Kala and Prakash Patel; and Kelsi Lynn Siudy, an accounting major from Monroe and daughter of Karen Siudy and Rick Siudy.

Several other honor graduates were recognized during Saturday’s ceremony; they were designated as summa cum laude (3.900-4.000), magna cum laude (3.750-3.899) and cum laude (3.500-3.749).

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