Southeast Arkansas College President Steven Bloomberg quoted the late Winston Churchill Friday night as he urged graduates to never give up, regardless of the circumstances.
Bloomberg, who took over as president of the school early this year, served as the commencement speaker as 236 students received degrees, technical certificates and certificates of proficiency; another 32 received a general education diploma during ceremonies at the Pine Bluff Convention Center.
Before he took center stage for the commencement, Bloomberg told the graduates that they had completed their journey.
“Every single graduate worked hard,” he said, adding that while the students were dedicated, they had the help and support of parents, grandparents, spouses, significant others, friends and relatives.
“Thank you for your support,” Bloomberg said.
Regarding his reference to Churchill, Bloomberg said that in 1941, London was being bombed on a daily basis by Nazi warplanes, and the United States had not yet entered into what became World War II.
“Churchill told his people to never yield, even when the night is at its darkest,” said Bloomberg, going on to tell the graduates that “Even if everyone is against you, the morning sun is going to shine. Never yield, never give up.”
He highlighted several other points in his address, starting with what he called “green light,” or getting a small victory once in a while, such as driving down a street and not having to stop for a red light the entire time.
“Regardless of whether you are going on to a four-year school or going into the workforce or just going on with your life, keep going,” Bloomberg said.
Using his life as an example, he said his goal in life was always to be a college president, even when he was told that he didn’t have what it took, or that he was not good enough, or that he should consider doing something else.
“They said you’re not good enough or you’re not smart enough, but you all rock college and that’s why you’re here,” Bloomberg said.
He also told the graduates that the diplomas or certificates they receive will give them the power to do anything they want to do in life.
“You believed so strongly you were willing to follow through so don’t ever accept the status quo,” Bloomberg said.
Also, he encouraged students to “tune out the noise.”
“Reach a little farther, try a little harder, find the things that are special about you,” Bloomberg said. “You will overcome.”