Godsey puts meaning in message to Campbell grads

     Buffered by a chilly breeze, over 800 graduates and their parents gathered on Campbell University’s Academic Circle Monday to listen to Dr. Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University. What they heard was not the traditional graduation address, but a life lesson packed with a half-dozen cogent points on the characteristics of good leadership.    “Good leaders develop relationships. They embrace the habit of connecting with other people. They are good at solving the knotty problems,” Godsey said. “Good leaders develop resources, including financial, people, and ideas. They set others free to be mavericks in their own imaginative ways. They act, even when they cannot see the way clearly.”     Godsey urged graduates to know what their priorities are. “Know what you will be willing to go to the wire for,” he said. “The problem is not that people don’t have enough principles, they have too many. Know your priorities, and they will direct your course.”In the end, each of us have only a small window of time between the “not yet” and the “no longer,” Godsey cautioned. “What matters is this, what value did you add, what problems did you solve what difference did you make?”    Almost every state and 40 countries were represented at the graduation service. According to Campbell President, Jerry M. Wallace, a total of 815 degrees were conferred on Monday.     Wallace recognized the sacrifice of Sgt. 1st Class Allen C. Johnson, a Campbell graduate from the Fort Bragg campus, killed in Afghanistan last week. “We are grateful to all of our military students who are here today and to those who have gone before you,” said Wallace. “You serve us and make sacrifices for us that we can never repay.”    Wallace also announced a gift of $4 million toward the construction of Campbell’s John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. Sunset Beach real estate developer, Ed Gore, and his wife, Dinah, made the donation in memory of their late son, Gilbert Craig Gore, for whom the center’s 3,000-seat arena will be named. Mr. and Mrs. Gore were presented Campbell’s Presidential Medallion in honor of their contribution to Christian higher education.    Graduate Shelley Varner, of Plymouth, N.C., and trustee, Helen Currin, of Dunn, N.C., received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan award, one of Campbell’s highest honors. A religion major, Varner maintained the highest GPA in Campbell’s Department of Religion and Philosophy and received a full scholarship to Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, N.J., to pursue a Master of Divinity degree.    Currin has been an active member of the Campbell University Board of Trustees since the early 1990s. During her tenure, Campbell realized many goals, including the completion of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, the renovation of the D. Rich Memorial Building and the establishment of the Campbell Divinity School.     Also honored were baccalaureate speaker and well-known churchman, Dr. Charles Dorman, who received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree; entrepreneur and philanthropist John W. Pope, Sr., who received an honorary Doctor of Laws; pharmacy hooding speaker and executive vice president of the National Community Pharmacists Association, Bruce T. Roberts, who received an honorary Doctor of Science; and Godsey, who received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.     Husband and wife, Julio and Patricia Rivera, from Campbell’s Camp Lejeune campus were thrilled with their degrees. The couple was forced to balance work and school while trying to raise a family. “We wanted to set an example for our daughter,” said Patricia. “She’s pretty smart, and we wanted to instill in her early how important an education is.”Photo Copy: Dr. R. Kirby Godsey, president of Mercer University, delivers the commencement address at Campbell University Monday. Bulletin 0116-5/10/05Â

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