LaHood Honored at Commencement Speech

By Nick Perreault

May 14, 2011 Updated May 17, 2011 at 9:19 PM CST

Each year the Bradley University Board of Trustees searches for a national figure to be the keynote speaker at Commencement ceremonies.

This year they were lucky to find a national political figure, a former Bradley University Graduate and a very familiar face across Central Illinois.

"This was just an absolute slam dunk."

Those were the words of Bradley President Joanne Glasser used to describe 1971 Bradley Graduate and this year's Keynote speaker, Current Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood.

"I have had a lot of memories from Bradley University and be able to convey a message to students today, is an extraordinary honor," said U.S Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

At this year's spring commencement, Secretary Ray LaHood, hopes students walk away with a very important lesson, that of community and civility.

"What we have learned is that you can only solve our challenges, if our sense of community is as strong as our commitment to civility, the idea that while we may disagree, we can still treat each other with mutual respect. They came here as individuals and they are leaving as a part of a community of interest that they will never forget," LaHood said in his speech.

And for one attendee, he thought LaHood's message fit the ceremony perfectly.

"I think that it is great that he said it, I think when you come here you need to have a good message for kids to walk out into the real world experience and everybody has different opinions on things and if you can't work together as people then your not going to get anything done, so I think that was a really good message on his part," remarked Chicago resident Matt Davis.

President Glasser hopes LaHood's career accomplishments and message Saturday shows students a unique power they now have.

"The power of opportunity and the importance of working hard and staying true to your core values, will be successful in whatever walk of life they choose to pursue," said Bradley President Joanne Glasser.

LaHood was also presented with an Honorary Doctrine of Humane Letters and now becomes one of several nationally Distinctive individuals to speak at Bradley.

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