• by Steve Lang •
Dr. Bill Kibler urged Sul Ross State University graduates to “live a life, not just get a job.” The university’s 12th President delivered the commencement address during ceremonies Friday evening (May 11) at the Pete P. Gallego Center.
Over 150 students received degrees at the annual exercises.
During his brief address, Kibler noted that George Washington’s second inaugural address, Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and the Ten Commandments all ranged from 200-297 words, while a U.S. Department of Agriculture’s order on the price of cabbage totaled 15,689.
“The message: Unless you have more wisdom to share than Washington, Lincoln or God, you need to be brief!” he said. He also referred to Anna Quindlen’s book, “A Short Guide to a Happy Life.”
“Each of you are about to begin what some refer to as your ‘real life.’ That could be a new job, or graduate school, or some change, or what you see as the pursuit of the rest of your life,” Kibler said. “Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work.”
“No man ever said on his deathbed, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’ It is unlikely that your dying wish will be, ‘bring me my college diploma, my checking account, or my new car.’”
Kibler referred to his “real resume,” as a father, grandfather, husband and friend, noting his efforts to be successful in each capacity, and summarizing, “I show up. I listen. I try to laugh.”
“I would be rotten, or at best, mediocre, at my job if those other things were not true,” he said. “You cannot really be first rate at your work if your work is all you are.”
That life, according to Kibler, should include other people and being generous, adding, “life is made up of moments and our goal should be to have as many of those moments as possible.”
Since life is short, learn to be happy, Kibler said, and like a homeless person Quindlen called one of her best teachers, take time to look at the view. This individual, shunning a shelter, hospitalization or treatment, chose to dangle his feet on a Coney Island boardwalk each day and stare at the ocean.
Quindlen wrote and Kibler quoted, “Every day, in some little way, I try to do what he said. I try to look at the view….When I do what he said, I am never disappointed.”
Kibler concluded with his favorite quote, by John Wesley:
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, for as long as you can.”