Lieutenant governor speaks at Wesleyan commencement

Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest


Staff Writer

Sunday, December 10, 2017

The 251 graduates at N.C. Wesleyan College’s December commencement ceremony on Saturday at the Dunn Center for the Performing Arts were offered some life lessons from Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who served as the keynote speaker.

Forest has served as lieutenant governor of North Carolina since January 2013.  As lieutenant governor, Forest serves as president of the N.C. Senate. Forest was the second Republican lieutenant governor to be elected in North Carolina and became the first Republican in the state to be re-elected as lieutenant governor after the 2016 election.

Forest, who was given an honorary degree by Wesleyan’s officials, congratulated the graduates at the start of his speech for their accomplishments. He said there is only a small minority that actually earn a four-year college degree.

Forest’s theme throughout his message was how to deal with the “game of life.” Unlike the past, he told the graduates that they have a substantial advantage in this day and age with the advancement in technology, especially with the advancement in cellular technology or advances in mobile phones that allows people to seek and find information from off the internet sometimes in a matter of seconds.

“Many of the jobs you’re going to have probably 10 years from now they aren’t going to exist,” Forest said. “We don’t know how to teach for it or prepare you for it, but what you have here (mobile phones) is something that’s different that we didn’t have in the past. You have all the knowledge of the world at your fingertips.”

Forest also said the “game of life” is similar to playing the longtime popular board game Monopoly. He expressed that it’s important to not be defined or caught up by material things.

“Life doesn’t have to be like the game of Monopoly, so don’t spend your life trying to keep up with the Joneses,” he said. “You’re going to find out in life that there are too many Joneses to keep up with. It’s important to be yourself and who God created you to be.”

Forest further said to the graduates that they should not look at interruptions in life as a negative.

“If you like to be in control of your circumstances, you know that interruptions can be frustrating, get in the way of your plan, need to be avoided or discarded or dealt with as soon as possible, so you can get back with being in control,” Forest said. “However, we shouldn’t view interruptions as obstacles to our plan, but an opportunity to embrace God’s plan. Don’t get frustrated with interruptions and be intentional about relationships. Get to know somone’s story and getting to know their story may transform your life and theirs.”

Forest concluded his speech by urging the graduates to follow their own path.

“You’re now on your own, and it’s important to do what God wants you to do and not what what someone want you to do,” Forest said. “Make an impact for his (God) kingdom and his glory. Walk with God and go make the world a better place.”

Wesleyan President Dewey Clark offered appreciation to the faculty and staff that helped the students graduate.

“This is indeed a joyous occasion to celebrate learning and academic achievement,” Clark said. “Also, this is a time when very few things are worthwhile without the support and help from others.”

Dr. Evan Duff, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Wesleyan, who called out the names of graduates, said it’s significant to highlight the discipline and determination of the graduates to obtain their college degrees.

“You know sacrifice,” Duff said. “Some of you choose to study in the library instead of going out to party. Some of you were holding a newborn baby, while holding a textbook in the other hand. Some of you kiss your kids good night and stayed up several hours to do a paper. Some of you juggle athletics, going to different conferences and still maintain to get your education.”