Student Spotlight

‘Daring, dedication and destiny’ – Maurice Arnold, commencement speaker

May 19, 2016

Maurice Arnold collected his Bachelor of Arts in organizational leadership on May 14 at Brandman University’s Northern Commencement ceremonies in Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium. But first, he called on his fellow students to join him in shouting out the “3-Ds” that are needed to live life to its fullest: daring, dedication and destiny. Arnold attended classes at the Travis campus.


Chancellor Gary Brahm: I would now like to introduce to you the student speaker representing the university’s undergraduates, Maurice Arnold, who will receive his Bachelor of Arts in organizational leadership from our Travis campus. Maurice.

Maurice Arnold: Chancellor Brahm, university administrators, faculty, fellow graduates (come on) and family members who supported honorees (come on), on the journey through academia. We appreciate your assistance. Without it crossing the bridge to prosperity is a difficult task.

Speaking of bridges, approximately 43 years ago, from the Pryor Street Bridge, a young distressed mother stood a hairline fracture from eternity and certain death as she contemplated whether to take her life.

The negative voices of a recent divorce, heartache, eviction and poverty were screaming in her ears. Meanwhile, she reasoned, how can I take my life and leave four children ranging from the ages of eight weeks to six years old.

Today I want to explore living in 3-D: daring, dedication and destiny. And when I extend my hand like this I want you all to say “D.” Are you all already? D.

Audience: D

Arnold: Come on, one more time, say D.

Audience: D

That’s right. So the path to destiny begins with the first D, which is daring.

Immediately after the near tragedy on the bridge, Evelyn Winn-Dixon was daring enough to start Atlanta Metro Junior College while caring for four children and dealing with the deep wounds of abandonment.

JK Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, is a former welfare mother who contemplated suicide. She stated, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously you might as well not have lived at all. In which case you fail by default.”

I agree with that but to see the fulfillment of our transformation into daring we must go to the next

Audience: D

Arnold: Which is dedication. Evelyn demonstrated her dedication by walking six miles from school each day because she could not afford a public transportation. Nevertheless she earned a bachelor’s, master’s and eventually a doctorate degree and became a director at Grady Memorial Hospital in the world greatest city, Atlanta.

Single mothers. Imagine staying up late at night to do homework because the little ones are tugging at you during the daytime or hearing the barrage of sexist comments from men who want to exploit your loneliness to derail you from the next

Audience: D

Arnold: which is destiny. Evelyn leveraged the vehicle of continuous learning to transition from welfare to wealth. In 2007, she became the mayor of Riverdale, Georgia, and this matriarch stimulated economic growth and balanced the budget with a nominal surplus. As a welfare mother, Evelyn possessed the intelligence and intellectual capacity to lead but a high-caliber adult education equipped her with the intellectual capital in leadership acumen to govern.

Her story resonates with me because my mother has the same DNA as Dr. Winn-Dixon. However mental struggles beyond her control prevented her from finishing a degree and facilitating citywide impact. Today she lives vicariously through me.

With four children at home, the strain of completing assignments was taxing although I have had the luxury of a beautiful, beautiful wife as the primary caretaker. Brandman University delivered the flexibility of blended learning, quality professors and curriculum with a fresh infusion of right-brain activities which expanded my educational aperture.

I’m not saying education alone will open doors. I believe operating with a pure heart, functioning within your gifting, and cultivating great social capital opens the doors to destiny. My adult education is simply a key ensuring I’m prepared to cross the threshold into the Promised Land. The majority of people let circumstances shape their possibilities instead of allowing the limitless vision from a passionate heart to dominate and shape their environment.

Daniel McCollam from the Mission Church in Vacaville declared, “Don’t be tethered to reality. Be tethered to your dreams.”

I would add let Brandman University help make your dreams a reality because dreams are portals to infinite possibilities. They give you a preview into your God-ordained destiny.

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