Congressman to Ball State students: Own your opportunity

Gora described as a force of nature

By Rick Yencer

MUNCIE. INDIANA  (NEWS) - Christopher Moore is like a lot of college graduates who were unsure what they wanted to do until they came to school.

A  football player without a scholarship, Moore fell in love with telecommunications after meeting late night comedian David Letterman during one of his visits to Ball State University. While planning to attend graduate school, Moore still dreams about being in front or behind the camera.

Dreams and a career were the focus of commencement speaker and Congressman Luke Messer's address to students, talking about owning your opportunity, work on a plan and never quitting.

Messer, on the 2014 ballot for re-election, expressed his love for commencement, offering a big WOW to graduating students who will find opportunity in a growing job market, despite some stagnation in wages.

 The United States' economy is twice that of China, and Messer said today's college graduate was better educated and more informed with iPhones having more information that was available to the last generation in books or  media.

Graduates must have a plan to start a career and persevere all hurdles to achievement it., he said. And while is it's good to have dreams, Messer said graduates can find a variety of careers whether it is a sports star or the agent or communications manager that represents them.

Messer talked about his modest family of a single mother working in a factory and raising two sons. After graduate college and obtaining a law degree, Messer found work in a congressman's office, later ran for office, served in some political jobs and eventually won a congressional seat of his own.

"My story is not unique," said Messer, saying there were many similar stories among graduates and there families.

And he referred to President Jo Ann Gora as a force of nature that brought world attention to Ball State.

Saturday was the last graduation for Gora who presented Messer with an honorary doctor of law degree. The president will retire to Virginia this summer.

Kent and Peggy Briner receives Presidential Medals of Honor for their giving to Ball State and the community and retired lawyer Thomas M. Lofton received a doctor of humane letters degree.

The Briners gave money for construction of the sports complex that bears their name that is used for field hockey, soccer and track and field events. Briner retired as senior vice president of products, marketing and operations for Muncie Power Products.

Lofton served as chairman of the board of directors for the Lilly Endowment, one of the biggest private foundations in the United States. Ball State has received more than $87 million from the charity that counts education as a top priority.

The commencement on the Fine Arts Terrace included more than a thousand graduates of the 2,874 who received degrees this spring.





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