Local Flavor and Global Reach Reflected in Graduate School Ceremony
Founding President Graduates with North Miami Class of 2009
New Lives, Tempered Glee and Seasoned Wisdom Mark Denver Celebrations
By Melinda Law
It was more than just a speech; it was a stunning performance by marketing major Donald Rouse ’09 who made it clear by the confidence in his booming voice, that this was their time. He defied anyone to warn that there are few opportunities for graduates of the Class of 2009.One hospitality graduate had literally weathered a storm four years ago just to get to campus. Corey Milliet ’09 left Metarie, La., two days before Hurricane Katrina hit. Her family had the foresight to grab the freshman’s belongings for school before they ran from the tempest. She saw her home on the news, under about seven feet of water. The family had to decide if they were going to stay or drive Corey to college. It was a quick decision. Her education was too important.“History has shown us that in tough times great leaders emerge,” Rouse reminded Milliet and his many fellow graduates, families and friends packed into Time Warner Cable Arena. Evoking triumphs of Mohandas Gandhi, Franklin Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill and Muhammad Ali, he set their vision.“We have the same window of opportunity as they had. We have the opportunity to impact the world we live in from a metaphorical ground zero. We have the chance to influence how business is conducted, how our government is operated and how we as a nation equally and fairly embrace cultural diversity. What better time to impact the world than now?” he asked and answered, “Our time is now! Right now we have everything we need to be game changers.”Rouse challenged his cohorts to use their technological savvy, passion, creativity, ambition and fearless youth to harness energies “being stored for 22 years … anxiously waiting to be converted into something great and used for a greater cause.”“Attitude” was first on the list of Five Basic Life Ideals defined by David Dooley ’09 Hon., CEO of RT Dooley Construction Co., who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Business Administration.“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes,” he said, quoting late-19th-century American psychologist, William James. “I know it to be true,” Dooley added from experience. “Your attitude and approach to life will make a difference, especially if you adopt the ‘underdog mentality’,” taking nothing for granted, bearing “a healthy dose of humility,” and being grateful and appreciative for everything.Rounding out his “five basics,” Dooley urged his classmates to “plan for what you want, take advantage of the people in your life, identify and live your values and have faith. If you adopt any or all of these, I truly believe your life will be richer and more successful.”Inspired by their own faith, students Kamiliah LeMay, Matthew Hines, Titus Dudley and Brittany Turner, a.k.a. Anointed Ministries, a campus club, had sung the National Anthem in perfect harmony earlier in ceremonies. Finding joy, hope and encouragement through gospel music, the group plans to better Charlotte and the world, through its music and community service. Their performance raised goose bumps.Milliet proudly accepted her diploma, as her parents waved from their seats. “Some people think the glass is half full. Some people see the glass half empty. I’m just glad something’s in the glass,” her father, Glenn Mitchell told reporters.Just under two hours later, the graduates ran out to clear blue skies and the arms of relieved parents, cheering relatives and celebrating friends. Wherever they are headed, it is with confidence and experience. As Rouse said with assurance, “None of us will leave here the same. None of us will question our capabilities, but instead we will look in the mirror and see the future waiting for us to seize the moment.“So, Class of 2009, are we ready?” he asked, sure of the answer.Charlotte Campus 4th Undergraduate Commencement,Time Warner Cable ArenaTotal Degrees Awarded 853College of Business 146College of Culinary Arts 304The Hospitality College 403B.S. Degrees 489A.S. Degrees 364Honorary Degree RecipientsDoctor of Business Administration (Commencement Speaker)David S. Dooley, chief executive officer, RT Dooley Construction Co., Charlotte, N.C.Doctor of Culinary ArtsEn-Ming Hsu, pastry chef, En-Ming Hsu Inc., Henderson, Nev.