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Beckfield College Graduate Address Serves as a Great Inspiration

It’s a privilege to witness the joy and confidence in a college graduate, hearing how an education truly changed his/her life.  James Massengale shared his story at last month’s Commencement Ceremony during his Graduate Address.

On November 22, 2014, Beckfield College held its Fall Commencement Ceremony.  For the first time, we had Graduate Speakers address the audience, and it was a big one – nearly 1400 people in the room!

James Massengale first earned his Associate of Applied Science in Business Administration from Beckfield College in December 2012.  At the November Commencement, he celebrated the completion of his Bachelor of Business Administration, officially having graduated in September of this year.

He is a single father who works all day and has been attending classes at night since 2012.  He has been quite active in the Phi Beta Lambda business fraternity.  This past summer he and five other members of the group participated in a national competition after shining at the state level.  James personally won 2 top ten awards at the competition, beating out competitors from large and small traditional colleges from across the country.  His energy and focus on being a great role model for his daughter are apparent with his every move.

Sit back and be inspired – I surely was!

Diane Wolfer, President


Graduate Address, written by James Massengale and delivered by him on November 22, 2014

Good afternoon honored graduates and esteemed guests. My name is James Massengale. Welcome to the Beckfield College 2014 fall graduation ceremonies. Thank you all for joining us for what is, to today’s graduates, a truly momentous occasion.

The first thing I would like to say is that it is an honor for me to be able to address such a wonderful group of people.

Just under four years ago I decided to enroll at Beckfield College. I would like to share a little of my journey with all of you today. When I made the decision to go to college, I had several goals in mind. First, I wanted to increase my knowledge and skills in order to increase my earning potential. I wanted to be able to provide a better life for my daughter and myself. Second, I wanted to set an example for my daughter. When she started school I began to realize how important it is to me for her to attend college and I thought that if I went to college, the chances of her attending would be greatly increased. I also wanted to have the experience in order to be able to help guide her through the process when her time came. Finally, I wanted to fulfill the potential that my friends and family always believed I had. My experience at Beckfield has allowed me to accomplish all of these goals and so much more.

One thing that was very important to me was to not have any regrets when I was finished college. I didn’t want to look back and say “if only I had tried a little harder.” So, I decided I was going to stay focused and always give my best effort. I am proud to say that I fulfilled this promise to myself. Today I am receiving my Bachelor’s in Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA and I have received many honors for my efforts. I have been student of the quarter twice. I am a founding member of the Beckfield College chapter of Phi Beta Lamda and was fortunate enough to serve as vice president of the organization. I have also competed and received awards in academic competitions, through Phi Beta Lambda, at both the state and national levels. I am very proud of these accomplishments and I am even more proud to have represented such an incredible school and such an incredible group of people.

But, my time at Beckfield has been so much more than honors and awards. My experience has allowed me to meet and work with so many bright and inspirational people. It has awakened my desire to succeed. I have made some amazing friends. And, I have found a new confidence and sense of accomplishment that I never anticipated. I feel truly blessed to have had such a wonderful journey.

At this time, I would like to turn my attention to you, my fellow graduates.  Going through this experience with all of you has been a pleasure and an honor. You have befriended and inspired me. I will always have respect and affection for each of you. Having been through it, I know that what you all have accomplished is exceptional. You have all made sacrifices and worked extremely hard and you deserve the honors you are receiving today. You can be proud of your accomplishment. The education we have received at Beckfield College is of the highest quality. When I went to the national competition in Nashville earlier this year I had the opportunity to compete against the some of the best students from 37 different states and over 180 different colleges. I placed in the top ten in both events in which I competed. Further, the other two student representatives from Beckfield College placed in the top ten in every event in which they competed. So, be proud of your education. It is among the best in the country. Also, be proud of your school. Give back when you can. Recommend Beckfield to other people who are looking to improve their lives. Make it a personal goal to get two other people to come to Beckfield College. The more successful your school is the better your education will look. If you have a chance at some point in the future to help a fellow Beckfield graduate to succeed in their lives, do it. Beckfield’s success is your success.

Next, I would like to recognize the faculty and staff of Beckfield. The teachers and deans have guided us during our time here with their knowledge and experience. The staff and management have made our lives easier and blessed us with their expertise and skills. They have allowed us to focus on learning instead of dealing with bureaucracy and paperwork. Your contribution has not gone unnoticed and will always be appreciated.

I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge is all of our cherished friends and family members who have been with each and every one of us on this journey. Every one of you has contributed to the success of at least one of the graduates here. You have supported us emotionally and sometimes financially. You have helped us with our children. You have believed in us. You have sacrificed quality time with us in order to help us better ourselves. We could not have reached this level of success without you and we thank you.

Finally, there is one other group I would like to address. The potential non-traditional students. The people who are now where I was four years ago. I, like most of the other graduates here today, am considered a non-traditional student. What that means is, in addition to school work and studying, we also have real world responsibilities. We have jobs. We have bills to pay. We have families to which we are responsible. When I first contemplated going to college I thought, “Man, I’m going to be 44 years old before I graduate.” Then I thought, “Well, you know what, I’m going to be 44 years old anyway…I might as well be 44 with a degree.” My experience at Beckfield has been incredible and it has positively changed my life is many ways.” In addition, I have recently started applying for jobs and have received a call-back from every company to which I have applied. I feel like my options are unlimited. Also I recently had my first discussion about salary with a potential employer and was literally shocked by how much my earning potential has increased. So I encourage anyone who is considering making a positive change in their life to come to Beckfield College. We did it and so can you.  Never has my hard work been so rewarding. And, to the students who are receiving their Associates degrees today, continue on and get your Bachelor’s degree, it is worth the investment.

In conclusion, I want to leave you with the words of one of our most popular and accomplished professors, Ron Richards, “You only need three things to succeed in life… confidence, a good attitude, and a desire to get ahead.” There is a lot of wisdom in these words.

It is truly an honor to be here today to represent this exceptional group of graduates. Thank you all for coming to celebrate this occasion with us.

Go Bulldogs!