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Gee tells graduates to ‘remember YOLO’ at 401st commencement

Christopher Braun / Design editor

As 1,600 Ohio State students graduated Sunday, President E. Gordon Gee left them with some memorable advice.

“Stay curious about people and the world around you, remember YOLO, you only live once, and always remember your alma mater. We will, I assure you, never forget you.”

The university’s 401st commencement took place Aug. 12 in the Schottenstein Center and was the first on the newly implemented semester system, which Gee noted was an celebration that had not taken place at OSU since 1923.

“For a bit of perspective, the president of Ohio State at that time was William Oxley Thompson, the namesake of our magnificent library and the opposing bronze statue on the west end of the oval. I’m envious of that statue by the way,” he said.

Terry Stewart, CEO of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio was the featured commencement speaker. He addressed the crowd before diplomas were distributed about his professional journey, and how following his passions led him to where he is today.

Stewart said that he had always been interested in music and comic books growing up, but found himself working in banking after college.

“I kept following someone else’s dream and a safer path. I wasn’t ready or able yet to embrace the simple concept that I want you to take with you today. That you got to do what you love,” he said.

After finding his way back to records and comic books, he worked with a comic book company and then later moved to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He told graduates to let their passions guide them.

“There is a rock and roll, comic book life waiting for every one of you out there,” Stewart said. “You’ve got to go find it, and I insist that you not take anything less for your life and settle for it.”

While the 401st graduating class was small in comparison to the 10,642 OSU students that graduated in June, Gee said that “our summer commencement is always known for its distinct flavor.”

While all students have their own unique experiences at OSU, many said that what they would miss the most was what binds them all together.

“I’ll miss football games and being with friends. The atmosphere, the school spirit,” said Cortney Ingram, who graduated with a degree in human development and family science.

Others had similar feelings.

Keri White, who graduated with a degree in psychology said “I’ll miss everyone I met in classes” along with her professors and going to football games.

Ingram said the ceremony was “really nice. A little long, but nice.”

University alumni association president Archie Griffin urged graduates to stay involved with the Buckeye community by connecting through the Alumni Association, riding in Pelotonia, going to watch parties for sporting events, and to “come home to campus. Come home to campus often.”


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