Senior to Senior

We asked some of our Golden Grads to share their best advice with the Class of 2014


Life is an amazing and wonderful journey with incredible adventures along the way.

Dr. Seuss says it best: “You have brains in your head; you have feet in your shoes; you can steer yourself any direction you choose.” So choose wisely.

Face your fears, overcome the obstacles, work hard and be trustworthy, because what you do really does matter. Practice patience and treat others as you would like to be treated. Share your time and talents and strive to be a person of integrity and character and to always do your best. Be proud to be an American and never take for granted the freedoms and opportunities of our country. Let faith, family and friends be your guide to a blessed life of love and happiness. My daily to-do list: sing, smile at strangers, keep learning, notice kindness, eat ice cream, hope, count your blessings, laugh, love and love some more!


As graduating seniors, I am sure you have set your goals for achieving success in your life – good start. Now is the time to make sure those goals are consistent with things you enjoy and are worthwhile.

Have a goal and stick with it – work two jobs if necessary. Live on one salary or income, and invest the second income. Investing in real estate has done very well for us (even through ups and downs in the economy). Keep good credit ratings, and always take time to enjoy the extras: family, travel, vacations. Reward yourself.

It helps to have a spouse or partner who is supportive of your goals. My wife, Pat, attended EWU also and has been an equal partner in any achievements in our 53 years together. Good luck in life.


One of the most important things I have learned is that learning never stops. If you want to move forward in your career, your relationships, your spiritual life, your qualities as a person, you must continue to learn and grow.

You will always be a reflection of the people you know, the places you go and the books you read. Just like your mother taught you to say thank you, don’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry” when you mess up, but always strive to get better day to day.

Take time to appreciate the present, look to the future and learn from the past. And don’t take yourself too seriously. Joy, laughter and a little humility can go a long way in creating a great life. As I have matured, it’s funny how my parents got a lot smarter. I’m thankful they were around long enough for me to say thank you for being there in the good, and tough, times. EWU gave me a great educational foundation that has served me well in five separate careers. I learned tomorrow can be an adventure if you are willing to step out and see what opportunities are there for your sampling.

When you graduate, take a moment and say thank you to those around you who have supported you – friends, family, parents, grandparents, teachers, wives, husbands and the spirit within you. Take pride in what you have accomplished but remember those who stood by you. Have a great life.


While trying to come up with some advice for the Class of 2014, I realized that I was, actually, very well prepared for the “after Eastern” part of my life.

I graduated in 1965 and was immediately on my way to Fort Bliss, Texas, to start a career in the U.S. Army. Upon reporting in and beginning my school, I felt very comfortable and prepared – prepared by one of the best ROTC Departments in the country. Do not downplay that assertion, just look at the number of generals who have come from this program.

While at Eastern, I lived on/off-campus and got very involved in a few organizations that provided me with leadership opportunities. I took advantage of those opportunities. I hope you did too. There is nothing more satisfying than leading a bunch of troops or a project staff. Just take care of them always. And keep the lines of communication open.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors. Don’t worry. Eastern has prepared you well. Now go get it done.


There is a good-natured joke in our family that it took me 10 years to get a college degree. It was worth it! Marriage, working to help put my husband through Eastern, and starting our family made me older than most graduating seniors.

Looking back, although I didn’t always follow these guidelines, three things strike me as priorities – people, communication and compromise.

Taking the time to keep in touch with friends from high school and college is well worthwhile.

Career, volunteer work, and, of course, relationships with family and friends will be enhanced or hindered by communication skills.

The importance of compromise is another on-going learning experience which affects so many aspects of our daily life. After 54 years of marriage, I confess I am still working on perfecting the art of compromise – and communication.


You, as new graduates, are like bright, shiny copper pennies about to embark on your life’s journey with new careers, perhaps marriage and families.

As a retired educator, I have lived almost a full life – like a well-traveled, well-circulated dollar bill. I’ve learned that life is hard and sometimes unfair. Many situations you will encounter are out of your control. You may find far greater benefits by handling these situations with positive, logical thinking and by accepting the circumstances. Because of these situations, you may develop gratitude for gains in personal growth, and empathy for others in similar situations.

Like newly minted coins, you’ll have many opportunities to “start something big” and remember “It’s Always a Great Day to Be an Eagle.”


After graduation, my career took me in many different directions. I did not plan it that way – it’s just that my husband was in the military and kept getting reassigned to new places, so I found myself seeking new positions every few years. That probably would intimidate some people, but I saw opportunities for new and exciting things.

It took more than 20 years after graduation before I discovered exactly what I wanted to do and where I wanted to do it! Don’t be afraid if that happens to you. Welcome new directions. Find someone who wants to share the ride with you. You both will make many mistakes along the way, but you can get past them together. Life really is a lot of fun! It is not very complicated. We just tend to make it that way. Half a century from now, I hope you will be loving life and sharing a similar message with another Eastern senior.


Years ago I watched a video by Mr. Morris Massey, What You Are Is Where You Were When. It helped me understand that those of generations senior to mine and my generation are molded by the times of our pasts, as to value systems and self-awareness. It helped me realize and understand why, depending on the generation, that many times views were different and that I needed to be cognizant and respectful and understanding of the same. Understanding how to work with different types of people is important.

Balance – keep in mind that the proper balance of family, work, community and other factors you consider important will pay great dividends in the long run.

Someone far wiser said: “There is a reason that we have two ears and only one mouth.”


Consider living a values-based life at the heart of everything you choose to do or not to do.

Continue to learn and develop those values that help you discover what is most important to you in your life. Accept your experiences and internalize these truths as evidence of the values you hold. Trust your values to help guide the decisions you make on a daily basis and

continually focus on your values to verify that you have clarity and alignment with all aspects of your life.

As necessary, refocus on what you are doing, who you are spending time with and what decisions you are making, to ensure your life is in harmony with your values. Love your values and live them every day. Our values-based life together has been blessed with 50 years of marriage, three children, nine grandchildren and an abundance of joy!


This is the greatest time of your life! Do not let anyone tell you that the “golden years” are when you retire! These are not the golden years. You are living in the golden years! Enjoy these years. Do not put off any of your dreams or wishes ‘till “later” – that time may never come.

It has been 50 years since I graduated. Probably the greatest change has been the change in communication – from a telephone that hung on the wall to everyone carrying one around in their pocket. Once, it took more than two weeks to know of what was happening in the world, now it is instantaneous.

Realize that change is a way of life. For example, Eastern was EWCE, then EWSC and now EWU. In my era we were known as the “Savages.” Right or wrong politically, many of us will always be “Savages” but still cheer for the Eagles.

Know that within your power lies every step you ever dreamed of and within your power lies every joy you ever dreamed of. Dare to grow into your dreams and claim this as your motto: “Let it be me.” And when you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.


Congratulations on your senior year and your graduation! Finishing our degree is the best decision you and I will have ever made. I have had so many opportunities in life because of my degree – and you will too.

Time is time. Use it equally to work, play, love and laugh. Surround yourself with positive, supportive and happy people. They will see you through the good and through the bad. May your world be blessed as mine has been by the years spent at EWU!


In 1946, friends encouraged me to choose Eastern Washington College of Education because of its friendly and caring reputation. I encourage you to make connecting with your Alma Mater a top priority. My connection to Eastern Washington University the past 64 years have been very helpful and rewarding.

EWU offers many programs to alumni. Enjoy your connection by attending athletic events, lectures and reunions. Reminiscing with your fellow classmates is always a winner. The trip to Frisco, Texas, and experiencing the Football National Championship game in 2010 will always remain a major highlight.

My granddaughter, Kelly Campbell, from San Diego, Calif., graduated in June 2013, and now is also an EWU alum. Be assured, her grandpa will make sure she knows the value of being connected.

Numerous trips to the campus have convinced me that it remains true that Eastern is a friendly and caring campus. Go Eagles!


Senior year at EWU is an exciting and challenging time. My senior year was my sixth college year, with four years at Eastern and two at another college. I was the first in my family to go to college and I had a few career changes as I progressed from freshman to senior.

My passion became chemistry and science and I was looking forward to graduate school. I married the previous summer and celebrated my honeymoon at Oregon State University with a summer fellowship program. I could not have made it this far without excellent mentors. In fact, I could not have made it to this stage of my career, retired and working on my fifth career, without key people in my life.

Family is very important in life. I helped start a medical instrument company, became an R&D Director for a national clinical diagnostics company and finally became general manager and CEO of a clinical laboratory company all in Spokane.

The journey was made possible by my education at Eastern. Doors opened and some doors closed along the journey. The key is to give more than you take, to be respectful, thankful and always have a passion and joy about what you do. May your journey be positive, joy filled and best wishes to the EWU Class of 2014.

Speak Your Mind