University of Central Florida Commencement
May 5, 2012
Introduction of commencement guest speaker Judge Belvin Perry Jr. by John C. Hitt, president of the University of Central Florida:
Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. is known to many for masterfully presiding over a murder trial that captured the nation’s attention in 2011. But, in the Central Florida legal community, he has been well known for years as a judicial expert and an outspoken advocate for justice.
His service to Orange and Osceola counties as the chief judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court has led to his recognition on an international stage. Judge Perry has presided over many cases since receiving his law degree from Texas Southern University in 1977, none more prominent than the State of Florida v. Casey Marie Anthony.
As chief judge, Belvin Perry currently leads Florida’s third-largest circuit court. He also chairs the Florida Innocence Commission, an organization that was established by the state Supreme Court to eliminate or significantly reduce the causes of wrongful convictions. Your Honor, we thank you for your years of dedicated service to our community.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Chief Judge Belvin Perry.
President Hitt, deans, trustees, families, friends, and graduates: It is my distinct pleasure to be here today to speak before the 2012 graduating class of the University of Central Florida!
Today, we celebrate the outstanding achievements of the brightest and best that this university and in fact, the state university system, has to offer.
Today marks a new chapter in life that will carry each of you as you pursue your dreams, make your fortunes, and make your way along life's journey.
SUCCESS! That is your goal - it's everybody's goal. The only question is: How do you define success?Up to this point, you have studied, you have read, and you have questioned. You have been challenged. You have been tested. You have laughed and you have cried. You have SACRIFICED a great deal just to be here today.
And you made it.
Today is payday. Today, you reap the well-deserved reward and privilege that you have worked so hard for over the years.
Folks, I'm proud to say that the class of 2012 has arrived, and the world may never be the same!
This is a very special day indeed. Today YOU, the class of 2012, will be handed the keys to your future. The doors those keys will unlock are endless, and the opportunities are vast.
Whether you plan to continue in your education or enter the job market, you now have a chance to make a difference in this world. You simply have to unlock those doors and step on through.
SUCCESS! That is your goal - it's everybody's goal. The only question is: How do you define success?
Success begins with the seeds of purpose;it is rooted in the joy of giving unto others. And it blossoms with change that benefits all mankind.Many people think success is measured by the size of your house, the price of your car, or the clothes on your back. If this is true, then there are a lot of well-dressed people driving around in fancy cars who are terribly unhappy. I tell you today, the reward for success comes not in material items, but in self-fulfillment and personal satisfaction.
The currency of success is not dollars and cents, but words of appreciation and hope for a better tomorrow.
Success begins with the seeds of purpose; it is rooted in the joy of giving unto others. And it blossoms with change that benefits all mankind.
So I ask you, what seeds of purpose will you sow? Where will YOU root your talents? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said: "All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."
Whether you work as a doctor, lawyer, teacher, administrator, or stay-at-home-parent, commit yourself to excellence. Make certain your labor has the dignity and importance to uplift all humanity.That is success. That should be your goal. And trust me on this next part: When you follow your heart, when you put others first, the money and comfortable lifestyle will follow. You will be provided for.
So, what difference will YOU make in this world? How many lives will YOU touch? These are the questions I ask you today. These are the questions I hope you will ask yourself.
So you now have the keys to the doors of opportunity. But once they're open, you still have to step on through.
Will you have the courage? Will you have the resolve to follow your dreams? And what about failure? What will YOU do in the shadows of defeat? Thomas Edison was once quoted as saying: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Every great achievement of mankind was built on failure. Success comes only to those who are not afraid to fail. We have all heard the saying "failure is not an option.” It's true – it's not an option. An option is something you choose. Nobody chooses to fail.
Failure is a reality. How you react to failure is an option.
A great man learns from his mistakes. A great woman sees failure as a step forward, not a step back. Remember, it is not how troubled the seas are that determines the course of your life. Instead, it is the decisions made by the captain of the ship.
Be courageous in rough waters, stay on course, and be persistent. You will have success.
It is your resolve that will ultimately decide your success. It is your determined soul that will bring change to this world.American Poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox once wrote: "There is no chance, no destiny, no fate, that can circumvent or hinder or control the firm resolve of a determined soul."
It is your resolve that will ultimately decide your success. It is your determined soul that will bring change to this world. Do not allow defeat to come between you and your goals. Do not let failure keep you from stepping through the doors of opportunity.
This ceremony will conclude soon and you will depart, leaving the traditions and the people of this great institution behind. However, you take with you the knowledge and memories of a great academic career.
The University of Central Florida was here long before you and will continue long after you're gone.
It has risen from a small technical college in the woods of Central Florida to become one of our nation's top universities for academics, high tech, medicine, and higher education.
UCF is not only an anchor for all of Central Florida, it is also a driving force in research, education, and athletics worldwide.
It is time for your generation to take its rightful place and lead us forward to a better tomorrow.And I don't know about you, but I've been seeing a lot more black and gold across Florida and a lot less garnet and gold or blue and orange. That's right, UCF is on the way up thanks in part to the outstanding achievements of its graduates and alumni.
YOU have been a part of UCF, and now UCF is a part of YOU, and YOU can stand proud to be a graudate of this great institution!
So it is time; time to step through those doors; time to follow your dreams and aspirations; time for each of YOU to begin making a difference in this world.
It is time for your generation to take its rightful place and lead us forward to a better tomorrow.
To the University of Central Florida Class of 2012, I congratulate you and I wish you all the best.
Thank you, good luck, and God bless.