Speaker: Keep plans for success

By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Dr. J. David McDonald
Allen County Community College graduates Rebecca Jo Rodecamp, left, and Kenna Thompson were among the 250 or so who received their associates degrees Saturday during ACCC’s 81st annual commencement ceremony.

Sharing bits of wisdom from an eclectic group of philosophers — including Samuel Goldwyn, Louis Pasteur and Bobby Knight — Dr. J. David McDonald stressed the importance of pursuing and sticking to dreams.
McDonald, associate provost for research and dean of Wichita State University’s graduate school, delivered the keynote address at Saturday’s 81st annual Allen County Community College commencement.
“Unfortunately, you are graduating into one of the toughest times we’ve ever had,” McDonald said, referring to the global recession.
“If you only remember one thing from today, it’s that chance favors the prepared mind,” he said, borrowing the famed quote from Pasteur, a French chemist and inventor of the process of pasteurization. The meaning, McDonald clarified, is that even when the economy is struggling, the more a person prepares and works for success, the more apt he is to find it.
McDonald, chosen as Allen County’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus, also quoted Goldwyn, movie producer and founder of MGM Studio: “The more I work, the luckier I get”; Wayne Gretzky “You’ll miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take”; and Knight “Most people have the will to win. Few have the will to prepare to win.”
McDonald recalled arriving at Allen County, fresh out of the military, largely because he was in search of a quality education at an affordable cost. In his two years at ACCC, McDonald credited two instructors, Bob Barclay and Gary Greve as instrumental in instilling his love of math and science.
Many of today’s graduates likely have fostered similar relationships with their instructors at Allen County, McDonald said. Others may not realize the importance of their instructors for years down the road.
The appreciation should be felt both ways, McDonald said. “In most cases, you may not know the footsteps you’ve left here,” he told the graduates. “Your efforts are very appreciated.
And don’t sell yourself short,” he continued. “As a native Kansan, I know a little about your mindset. This is just ‘little old Iola in little old Kansas.’ You can accomplish remarkable things if you pursue them with vigor.”
McDonald, son of Fern and the late Dennis McDonald of Iola, is a 1981 ACCC graduate. He went on to become a research scientist, lecturer and journalist, as well as a teacher and administrator.
He also serves as chairman of Wichita State’s Department of Biological Sciences.
Preceding McDonald on stage was ACCC graduate Kelcy Caudell of Colony. Caudell, president of the ACCC Student Senate, encouraged the graduates to find a vocation they truly love “so you never feel like you have to go to work.”
As part of the ceremony — more than 250 students received associates degrees — the college honored Loren Korte, who is leaving his post on the Board of Trustees after 12 years at the end of the academic year June 30.