Plowman tells graduates to never stop dreaming
751 earn degrees from Nebraska
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln conferred 756 degrees during the summer commencement ceremony Aug. 11 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Donde Plowman, executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer at Nebraska, delivered the commencement address, “Never Stop Dreaming.”
She began by reminding the graduates of the significance of their accomplishments: Among Americans, only one in three has a college degree, only 9 percent have a master’s degree and only 2 percent hold a doctoral degree.
She told the graduates that people would see them differently because they earned a degree from Nebraska.
“They will assume that you have the truthfulness of Willa Cather, that you have the values of Warren Buffett, that you have the integrity of Jeff Zeleny we see on CNN every night, that you have the humanitarian spirit of world-class opera singer Barbara Hendricks, the innovation of Twitter founder Ev Williams, or the determination of David Graff, John Wertz and Brian Kaiser, who founded Hudl,” she said.
Plowman also said that people assume at least four things about Nebraska graduates: that they work hard, possess grit, use common sense to make decisions, and are humble.
Plowman, former dean of the university’s College of Business and a well-known scholar in the areas of leadership and organizational change, said that the world now expects leadership from the graduates.
“We need you to be leaders in your workplace and your communities. We need you to vote — and if you’re not registered, you need to do that now,” she said. “We need you to pay attention to what’s happening in this world and if you don’t like it, try to fix it. We need you to run for public office. We need you to keep dreaming of big things and big causes.”
Plowman reminded the graduates that Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t say he had a plan or goal, but a dream. She said her own dreams — some small, some big — propelled her and kept her going during difficult times, and she encouraged the graduates to never stop dreaming.
“As corny as it seems, I believe with my whole heart that if you keep dreaming and keep pursuing your dreams, there is nothing you can’t conquer,” she said. “There really is no mountain high enough. There’s no valley … I’ll just let Marvin Gaye finish this out so we can get on with the party.”
An audio clip of Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s 1967 hit “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” closed the address.
Chancellor Ronnie Green presided over the ceremony, in which undergraduate and graduate degrees were awarded.
The graduates are from 38 countries, 38 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 75 Nebraska communities.
The August graduating class earned 381 new graduate and professional degrees and 375 new baccalaureate degrees. The university has awarded 288,552 degrees since it was founded in 1869.