EKU Commencement Speaker Fulfills Ambitious Educational Goal

Published on May 22, 2023

By Sarah Bashford

Now EKU graduate, Kaitlin Coyle, set out to pursue three majors when she first enrolled as a freshman. Coyle's driving motivational force to achieve her educational goals came from a phrase her mother said to her growing up, “La educación es la mejor herencia que los padres pueden dar a sus hijos.” The phrase translates to, “Education is the most important inheritance parents can pass onto their children."

Coyle shared her story of pursuing broadcasting and electronic media, English and Spanish degrees with her fellow classmates during EKU’s spring commencement ceremony for the College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences and the College of Business on May 12, 2023.

“When I was given the opportunity to pursue three majors, I didn’t hesitate because my mother taught me that education is a gift—a gift that many children in villages where she grew up in Panamá would give anything to receive,” said Coyle, who grew up in Berea, Kentucky and was born in Italy. She considers herself to be from Kentucky, Panamá and Italy. 

Coyle spoke of tribulations during her time as an undergraduate and how despite doubts, she achieved her goal of graduating with three degrees. 

“Each day, I encountered people who did not believe I was going to reach my goal. When people heard that I had three majors, some stared as if I were insane, some rolled their eyes, some nodded their heads in disbelief, and then there were those who told me it wasn’t possible,” said Coyle. “Sometimes in those moments when things got hard, it was easy to believe what all those people told me—that I wasn’t going to reach my goal, that graduating with three majors was impossible. But I’m standing here today telling you, it is possible. Every dream you hold in your hand, in the deepest depths of your heart, those dreams are possible as long as you believe in yourself, as long as you persist and as long as you’re willing to work hard enough to attain them.” 

Coyle addressed her classmates with heartfelt advice on how to overcome doubts in themselves.

“In those moments when you do doubt yourself, turn to the people that care about you most—they’re the ones that are going to lift you up when you can’t lift yourself,” said Coyle. “In moments when my faith in myself wavers, I remember what my mom told me. Your education is a gift—an opportunity that many others don’t get—so cherish it. Use it to change the world and give people the gift of opportunity you wish you’d gotten. As we graduate and move beyond the comfort of the Campus Beautiful, don’t forget to thank the people that invested in you. That helped you get to the seat you’re sitting in today. But most of all, never forget your own capabilities. Believe in yourself. Persist.” 

Coyle plans to attend Auburn University to pursue a master’s degree. 

EKU recognized more than 2,000 graduate candidates from its six academic colleges during spring commencement ceremonies. 

View the ceremony in its entirety: EKU Spring 2023 9 a.m. Commencement