Dunagan urges graduates to keep their buckets full
Posted: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 12:11 pm
The Messenger 05.19.10
Dr. Nick Dunagan, University of Tennessee at Martin chancellor emeritus, encouraged each graduate at the 2010 UT Martin commencement ceremony Saturday to be a “bucket filler and not a bucket emptier.”
He spoke to the largest graduating class in the institution’s history.
He explained that the concept, created in the 1960s by Dr. Donald Clifton, is based on each individual carrying around an imaginary bucket that is constantly being filled or emptied, “depending on what people say to you, what people do to you and your circumstances in life.”
“A full bucket gives us a positive outlook and renewed energy and every drop in that bucket makes us stronger. But an empty bucket poisons our outlook, saps our strength and doesn’t make us feel good at all,” he said.
Dunagan also urged them to surround themselves with other bucket fillers. He related how UT Martin had filled his bucket during his career when he saw students blossom, faculty members find joy in teaching, an administrator solving a problem or a graduate returning to campus with his or her family to visit.
He told graduates, “What you decide to do and the path you decide to take will have a profound influence on your relationships, your productivity, your health and also your happiness.”
Dunagan had requested the commencement musical selection, “My Wish,” made popular by Rascal Flatts. He also suggested graduates listen to the lyrics again, especially the references to “help somebody every chance you get” and “always give more than you take.”
“Good luck and God speed,” he said. “My wish is that you have also felt that this institution has filled your bucket, and you will go out in life and pay forward and help fill the buckets of others.”
The spring graduating class of 696, the largest in history, represented 54 Tennessee counties, 12 states and 10 countries. They join more than 37,000 UT Martin alumni worldwide. Dr. Tom Rakes, UT Martin chancellor, presided over the exercises, and Dr. Jan Simek, University of Tennessee interim president, conferred degrees.
Rakes asked UT Martin’s newest alumni to take time to thank all those who have helped them achieve this goal, to keep in touch with their alma mater and to be supportive and vocal about the value of higher education.
“Education is not what’s received, but what you achieve,” Rakes said. “As graduates of UT Martin, your diploma is a symbol of a significant achievement. You add another tool to your resumé.”