Central Washington University
Western Washington Centers
Commencement Speech
Opened Doors
June 9, 2013

Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel, Chief of Staff
Governor Jay Inslee

Graduates, parents, family members, Central staff, and community members -  thank you for the honor of sharing a few remarks with you this afternoon. 
I will start with assuring you that I will be brief in my comments, starting with CONGRATULATIONS to the class of 2013!

Central graduates; today is being realized because of your individual commitment, tenacity and hard work to overcome barriers and challenges unique to your own circumstances. Instead of being deterred – you persevered. Today is being realized because of your courage and dedication to try new things and your willingness to develop your talents and skills.

AND… today is being realized because of the support and encouragement you were blessed to have along the way. None of us achieve alone. Let’s honor those in attendance to celebrate and those who could not join you today but who helped you get to this point. Your parents, family members, friends, fellow graduates, community members, and the CWU staff – all of these people deserve recognition as well for the privilege you are enjoying today of graduating from Central Washington University.

We also recognize Dr. James L. Gaudino, Central’s president; Jim – thank you for your leadership, belief in all of the folks graduating today and the support provided to help them reach this moment.  And, - to the Board of Trustees and other distinguished members of the platform party who deserve commendation for their support – Thank you.

I have the incredible privilege of bringing personal greetings and congratulations from the Honorable Governor Jay Inslee.  He and First Lady, Trudi Inslee, define the meaning of “friends of education”. Our Governor is committed to providing quality education opportunities for all Washingtonians and believes education is the best investment we can make in our future.

The CWU Western Washington Centers - class of 2013 joins a unique CWU family of graduates. You are the future leaders, builders, creators, innovators, inventors, teachers, scientists, neighbors, and parents.  You will be contributing at a new level - to the success of our community, our state and our nation.

There is a sense of pride and community among our alumni that I have felt since earning one of my degrees at Central in 1992. Regardless of the year, the program or location – today, you are joining the successes of hundreds from Central in leadership roles, like Annette Sandburg – the first woman Chief of the State Patrol not only for WA state but the first in the nation, Ray Conner, Executive Vice President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Dottie (Dorothy) Metcalf-Lindenburger who earned a Central teaching degree and eventually became a NASA astronaut. YOU are about to receive your degree and officially become a CWU graduate. Welcome to a special family!

As you begin the next important step in your life I offer these thoughts for your consideration:

1. Do not place limits on yourself.  Regardless of the degree you have earned today or the career path you are presently on – do not put yourself in any “box”. Pursue your career goals but be prepared when doors open. I assure you…Chief of Staff for the Governor of the State of Washington was NOT in my “career path”. When you limit your expectations, you limit your potential.  Have the courage you have shown on this journey to walk through doors that are opened to you. YOU get to define success - what you want, what you want to do and how you will do it.  There is no substitute for effort and hard work. Pay the price!  Be open to opportunities, be willing to risk and contemplate sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.

2. Accept failure as part of life.  Everyone fails. Failure simply means you are moving forward.  Remember to fail forward - get up, dust yourself off, and continue to move ahead.  In failure we discover a chance to improve.  Every successful person has encountered failure along the way. 

3. Go the extra mile – it is never crowded.  The difference in life between ordinary and extraordinary is one five letter word – “extra.”  Those who do more than the required are the ones who find additional and sometimes unplanned success in life.  Anyone can do the required. The really great people do the “extra” that allow them to achieve extraordinary results.

4. Accept that life is difficult, seldom fair and nearly impossible to predict.  Life is intended to be a challenge. It is in facing and overcoming difficulty that your core values and character surface.  Honesty is challenged during times of temptation.  Integrity is challenged when you are called upon to tell the truth, and maintaining a hopeful outlook is revealed during your darkest days. 

5. Your success here today represents to me that you believe in yourself and your ability to overcome obstacles.  You struggled, but stayed the course - pursuing and accomplishing this dream. Do not let anyone or anything chip away at that. Your attitude and approach to opportunities will largely determine your success.  Have hope for the future. Keep your mind and heart open – the possibilities are endless. I challenge you to step through doors that are opened to you throughout your journey.

Life is a mystery . . . embrace it.
Life is a struggle . . . face it.
Life is beauty . . . appreciate it.
Life is a puzzle . . . solve it.
Life is an opportunity . . . take it.
Life is a song . . . sing it.
Life is a goal . . . achieve it and finally,
Life is a mission . . . fulfill it.

From this day forward –at least once a day, allow yourself the freedom to think and dream for yourself.

Live simply.   Speak kindly.   Love generously.   Care deeply.

Form the habit of saying yes to your own potential. Never stop learning.

May your victories be abundant. 
May you be blessed with all things good.
May your joys be too numerous to count.
May all your dreams become reality
Enjoy the journey. 

Dr. Mary Alice Heuschel
Chief of Staff
Governor Jay Inslee