I understand that President Obama wants to make a two year community college degree “Free”. Frankly, I’m all for it. I do hope, however, that we remember that the cost of college is only part of the price.

I once had to write a graduate commencement speech. It was easy – I was nearly ready to graduate. Let me assure you that even if you get a “Free” ride through college, You will still be paying a very high price for your education. An it is worth every single penny!

Special Occasion Speech (2009)

I am honored to have the opportunity to speak with you today, this day of your graduation. We are living is difficult times, but all times are difficult in some way. It seems every generation has its own special giant to face, you are no exception. You already had to face a lot of giants to earn the degree you are receiving today, some of those giants only you and God will ever know about. You fought a horde of temptations. You fought fatigue and laziness. You fought rain and sunshine, both enticing you to stay home. You fought soap operas and video games, mini series and movies. You fought failures and fevers. You fought with the kids and you fought with your spouse, but mostly, you fought with your own will, and today, you are the winner!

This is a day to celebrate. The degree you have earned signifies that you are a giant slayer. Today you are a winner. Tomorrow, there will be even bigger giants to face. You graduate into a world waiting for leaders. The world waits, and a great cloud of witnesses survey the globe anticipating next player taking the stage. Who will forge the way for the next generation? Who will be the next “Rockefeller of the information age” – like Bill Gates, or offer us “Every Day Low Prices,” like Sam Walton. Who will awaken our conscious like Jonathan Edwards, and remind us we are mere “Sinners in the hands of an angry God”. Who will be the healers of our national spirit and economy? It will be some of the very giant slayers who step up today to receive their degree, and step down to be the future of America.

This is a day to consider those who made slaying the giant possible. Let us gratefully remember every instructor who extended a deadline, allowed a retest, repeated a lecture, or explained a theory – again. And let us recall with thanksgiving those who cared for the children, made the dinner, did the laundry, changed the baby, swept the kitchen, went to the store, washed the dishes, and many more untold sacrifices that made this day possible.

This is a day to continue. You have earned a degree, but you will always be in the school of life. Mark Twain said “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover”.

This is a day to be confident. It was Martin Luther who said “Pray like it all depends on God, then when you are done, go work like it all depends on you. That’s a giant slaying combination, and that is our challenge. God bless you this day of your graduation.

By the way, thank you Sonny! You are always my awesome inspiration!

Thanks for listening!