Mabus, a former Mississippi governor, addressed the university’s Saturday morning commencement program. Jones, U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, spoke at the Friday night ceremony.
Each separately urged graduates to commit themselves to serving a purpose bigger than themselves. More than 2,400 students were candidates for spring semester diplomas.
Mabus stressed the importance of those who, in a much larger sense, make special days like graduation day possible, “those who have worn or are wearing the uniform of our country,” he said.
After reminding the audience that less than 1 percent of Americans currently serve in uniform, the former governor proudly noted that Mississippians serve in our military at a rate higher than almost any other place in this country.”
Mabus also stressed that “You don’t have to join the military to serve,” citing such examples as a teacher staying after school to help a struggling student, a nurse working beyond her shift to care for a patient, a neighbor mowing the yard of an elderly person and a farmer anonymously paying for a young person’s college education.
At the Friday program, Jones, an MSU education alumnus, reminded his audience that land-grant universities are built upon academic excellence, research and service.
“Service is part of the fabric of this institution, and service should be part of your fabric,” Jones said, noting that “serving others will help you define the person that you want to be and discover what you’re meant to be.”