Commencement Speaker Reminds Graduates of Shown Resilience, Persistence

Published on May 18, 2022

While the past four years have been filled with uncertainty for Eastern Kentucky University student Jazmine Gardner, she challenged her fellow graduates to continue to practice perseverance for future challenges.

“We have looked this fear of the unknown in the face,” Gardner said. “We didn’t know what school would be like during a pandemic. We couldn’t imagine life returning to normal and we struggled to find ‘a new normal.’” 

Gardner shared thoughts 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. The Honors program scholar graduated with a double major in homeland security and globalization and international affairs.

Calling herself “the girl with the plan,” Gardner said she began her EKU experience having carefully laid out her plan to complete 150 credit hours, a year of study abroad and an internship. The COVID-19 pandemic didn’t necessarily change those plans, they simply delayed a few of them but taught important lessons along the way. 

“Although much was lost for me, and for many of you as well, far more was gained and accomplished,” Gardner said. “We have learned an invaluable lesson in dealing with how unpredictable life can be. We don’t always know what the next step will be but we are prepared to face the unknown just as we have the past several years.” 

The resiliency she and her classmates have demonstrated during the past several years will benefit them. 

“All of us here today – we looked those fears straight in the face and we kicked down the door and we took back the reins. We have persisted and given our best efforts to be here today receiving our diplomas,” Gardner said. “Continue to face your fears and hold the key to your fate. Hold onto the reins. There are twists and turns ahead.”

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: