Commencement Speaker’s Altered Plans Lead to New Passion

Published on May 18, 2022

Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, said Anne Goodman, Eastern Kentucky University commencement speaker representing the College of Health Sciences. 

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” Goodman said, quoting boxer Mike Tyson. 

Goodman shared her experiences with graduates attending EKU’s 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremonies for the College of Health Sciences, the College of Justice, Safety, and Military Science, and the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics on Friday, May 13. Goodman graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health with a minor in Women and Gender Studies. 

Goodman’s initial plan to begin EKU in 2008 was derailed by the untimely passing of her father and dropping out of school. Fast forward 10 years when she decided to return to school to pursue nursing and be able to show her son JJ that even delayed plans can be great plans. 

It was slow going academically for Goodman but she said she was giving it her all toward a nursing degree when she walked into an Introduction to Global Health class. Public health was not in the grand plan for Goodman.

“This is the class that changed my life,” she said. 

It wasn’t the nursing path that she thought she wanted to take but Goodman found her passion, her niche and now a career that she loves. Although she found a passion for studying public health, that did not make college any easier, she said. She admits struggles in school and in life did not ease up but credits her mom, grandmother, professors and friends for helping her keep the faith. 

“As we start our new journeys, I want to remind you not to quit,” she said. “Find your passion in life and dive head first into it. Always have the courage to continue.” 

Goodman made the most of her EKU experiences. While she began her second act as a college student with a dismal GPA, her persistence allowed her to graduate Magna Cum Laude. She was recognized as Undergraduate Major of the Year, she had her research recognized at Scholars Day and the University Showcase, she earned scholarships that allowed her to travel to conferences and she served as an intern with Green Dot. 

Her new plan is to begin graduate study in public health this fall. 

“As we all head out into the world, I just want to encourage you to be the change that you want to see, and never be afraid to dream big,” Goodman said. 

EKU recognized 2,292 degree candidates from its six academic colleges during its spring commencement ceremonies. 

View the ceremony in its entirety on our YouTube channel: