Florida Trend | Florida's Business Authority

Lessons Shared

(Florida Trend)

This past December, I had the distinct honor of delivering the commencement address at Florida Southern College in Lakeland.

Early last year, the college’s president, Anne Kerr, asked if I would consider delivering the address. I was honored, humbled and flattered that she and the Florida Southern College board of trustees would entrust me to address the graduates, their families, friends, the faculty and board members. It was a privilege that I did not take lightly.

During my address, I told the graduates that life is a journey that takes us down paths that are unknown and unfamiliar. Life’s outcomes many times are unexpected and unpredicted.

I also talked to the graduates about our own family’s journey that took my wife, Jessica, and me from young college graduates starting our careers — and becoming parents of four children — to where we are today, appreciating our rewarding professions and experiencing our children’s growth into adulthood. Our journey through the years was not easy. We worked hard, we laughed, we cried, we celebrated and we struggled at times — but we persevered. We beat the odds, and today, nearly 30 years later, Jessica and I are enjoying watching our own children as they embark down the road of life’s lessons.

As I closed my address, I stressed that with hard work, purpose, determination, humbleness and perseverance, the road begins to open and their missions will become clear. I left the graduates with five thoughts that I hoped would guide them through life:

  • Follow your passion and don’t be afraid to take chances. You never know when an opportunity might present itself.
  • Embrace every challenge. Don’t shy away from them.
  • The easy path is not the path that leads to fulfillment.
  • Opportunities are earned, not given. Live life to its fullest.

— David G. Denor, Publisher ddenor@floridatrend.com