FAMU alumnus and pharmaceutical executive Jemal Gibson inspired graduates to hang in there during tough times when he delivered the keynote address during the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) Fall Commencement on Dec. 9.
The author and former U.S. Army officer shared his journey from a young freshman arriving on campus from Chicago with just $20 in his pocket to becoming a corporate executive. The Al Lawson Multipurpose Center was filled to capacity during the commencement program.
While speaking to nearly 700 graduates, Gibson shared three critical points that he believes can help them as they begin their own professional journey. The core components included aspiration, perspiration, and inspiration.
“You can sit and dream all day long, but at some point you have to move your feet to get there,” Gibson said. “Some people will be smarter than you. Some people will have more money than you. Some people will have more talent than you, but no one can ever out work you. That is a choice. You can choose to work, or you can choose to lose, but that choice is yours,” Gibson added.
Faculty Senate President, Bettye Grable, Ph.D. welcomed guests and reminded FAMU’s newest alumni of the obstacles they overcame to reach such a pinnacle moment in their lives and challenged them to continue pressing forward in their pursuit of knowledge.
“Your classroom education may have ended but learning never ends. It should continue throughout your lifetime,” Grable said. On behalf of the FAMU Board of Trustees, all members commend you on your hard work, and look forward to the success that you will bring to your family members, to your community, to Florida A&M and most of all to yourself,” she added.
Throughout the evening, cheers of joy rang out amidst the crowd as family members and supporters expressed excitement for their respective graduates.
Before concluding, Gibson encouraged the graduates to tell their own stories, saying they may never know who could be touched by hearing them.
“As you prepare to go out and change the world, and I’m extremely confident that you will, don’t forget to change the world at FAMU. In the end, people won’t measure you by how great you were, they will measure you by how great you were to them.”