Five Takeaways from Dr. Bertice Berry’s Words for Graduates

Dr. Bertice Berry, a sociologist, researcher and bestselling author, delivered Colorado Technical University’s commencement speech to more than 1,000 graduates. Berry imparted wisdom, shared her quick wit and even sang to the crowd.

CTU Commencement Speaker Bertice Berry and CTU CAO Connie JohnsonWhen Dr. Bertice Berry took the stage to give her commencement speech she exclaimed, “You did it. You did it. You did it.” At that moment every graduate was reminded that they had just accomplished something special. Berry went on to say, “in order to change the world, we have to change ourselves and that’s what you have done today. But the problem is that we take ourselves for granted.” Students spent years studying, often while working at the same time. Berry was trying to communicate that students must take time to be grateful for themselves because that gives them the opportunity to do so much more.

During the speech, Berry stressed that, “purpose is infectious. When you walk with purpose you collide with destiny.” In life, we all run into people who don’t believe in us, or act out because they are jealous or resentful. Accepting their opinion as fact can create self-doubt. When we walk with purpose and apply critical thinking to our lives, we open ourselves up to success. Berry said that with promotion “you sit a little bit taller than you did before because you’ve been able to achieve something that you weren’t able to do before.”

Five key takeaways from Berry’s speech:

  • When you walk with purpose, you collide with destiny.
  • When you are grateful for yourself, you can do so much more.
  • Apply critical thinking to everything you say and do.
  • What you did today is not just about you, it’s about everybody in this room and every life you touch.
  • What you’ve done makes you incredibly special and unique but it does not make you better than those who support and love you.

Berry left the crowd with important advice that her mother had once shared with her. Berry said, “From this day forward, no matter what anyone has said about you, over you or to you, when you walk across the stage you have a clean slate, you are brand new.” Graduation is not the end, it’s the beginning.


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