Student Spotlight

‘Thank you for choosing the hard road of finishing’ – Dr. Jeremy McMullen, NAS Lemoore speaker

June 02, 2016

Dr. Jeremy McMullen tell his fellow graduates at the NAS Lemoore ceremony how he went from being a high school dropout to completing his doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree in organizational leadership at Brandman University.


Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and the Class of 2016, woo hoo, and the Class of 2016. (Applause)

Wow, what an honor to be able to speak with you today. I’m honored and humbled by your academic achievements, defending freedom while at the same time being able to become academic finishers.

Today’s a celebration of finishing. Academic achievement, regardless of the degree, diploma or title earned, finishing a degree will create better opportunities for a successful future.

First, let me tell you a little bit about why I’m so passionate about finishing.

I initially didn’t finish.

Shocking, I know. I dropped out of high school but I was resilient and looked for ways to bounce forward. The Navy was that platform. Thank you, Navy. My chain of command thought that I should have a high school diploma, so they’ve all told me to go. So I did. But thanks to some very special people like Ms. Napiers, my adult education teacher’s long ago belief in me, I’ll achieve the ultimate academic achievement, a doctoral degree.

On this very stage, in 1988, Airman McMullen graduated high school. Woohoo!

28 years later — that’s a lot of time to go to school folks, stay in school — I’ll be closing the loop on my educational journey again on this stage, where it all began. So I’d like to thank and dedicate this commencement to all the all-volunteer military who are finishers, who are resilient, who make mistakes but don’t let those mistakes determine their destiny.

Just like Ms. Napiers started me on a road of educational achievements and discovery in 1988, your journey is also beginning. So thank you for choosing the hard road of finishing. I encourage you on your journey. As you get to know yourself, you can use your education to make your future better.

Thank you for the hard work, the dedication and the principles that you’ve shown in achieving your goals, but what’s more important is — wait for it — thank you for what you’re still about to do.

Hoorah! (Hoorah! applause)

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