‘It’s only the beginning’

1979 alum gives advice to SMSU?grads

Photo by Jody Isaackson SMSU 2018 graduates promenaded to the R/A Facility for commencement ceremony Saturday.

MARSHALL — 1979 Southwest Minnesota State University graduate and president of Hormel Business Units Steve Binder told 2018 SMSU graduates Saturday that it’s about progress, not perfection during his commencement address.

“Your graduation isn’t the end, it’s only the beginning,” Binder said. “Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther,” he said, quoting J. P. Morgan. “The truth is, you never really ‘arrive’ because you can always see a little farther. The best is yet to come.”

Along their way, he urged graduates to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Self awareness would give them empathy and humility and an eye toward self-evaluation.

“Reinvention is a wonderful thing,” he said, then delved into a few more slices of wisdom:

• Fear of failure can be a great motivator or petrify you. Let it motivate you to success.

• Have thick skin through adversity.

• Have compassion for yourself.

• Strive to be the very best, without which you may never know how good you can be.

• Where you are going is not as important as the journey.

• Develop your support network — you’ll need them to navigate this journey.

“I found my passion and purpose in developing highly effective teams,” he said. “Leadership wasn’t something I knew I was going to be good at. There is no greater satisfaction than to inspire others to be greater than yourself.”

Two awards were given during the graduation ceremony.

The Outstanding Senior Award went to Mu Mu Aye for her work on a cultural community project. The 2018 Cathy Cowan Award went to faculty member Dr. Christine Olson who said her parents taught her to be curious.

“Problem solving for the community good revitalizes and sustains us,” Olson said.

SMSU President Connie Gores told the graduates, “You will carry our (university) name with you always, and you carry with you our hopes and dreams for a better world. Stay in touch, and remember: Once a Mustang, always a Mustang!”


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