Oginga Walters Gives Undergraduate Student Commencement Speech

May 17, 2013

Undergrad Commence speaker Oginga WaltersOginga Walters, who is graduating from Wheelock College with a double major in Human Development Focused in Psychology and Elementary Education, with a minor in History, delivered the 2013 student speech at Wheelock's commencement ceremony on May 17, 2013.

Because Walter's strongly believes in living Wheelock's mission, it inspired him to choose a job with a similar mission and values. After graduation, he hopes to put his professional major into practice by teaching elementary education in the Boston Public School system.

In the above picture, Walters (center) poses with students from his practicum site.

According to Walters, he is most passionate about history and understanding how the past affects the present. "I feel that is it necessary for people in the world to learn how to question authority and the best way to begin is to question the past and write history in a way that is reflective of everyone's shared past," he said.

Service is important to Walters. While at Wheelock, he was active in the annual Muddy River Clean-Up along the park, which involved picking up trash, downed tree limbs, and debris. He was also a student teacher and he participated in the Wabash National Study of Liberal Arts Education, a large-scale, longitudinal study investigating critical factors that affect the outcomes of liberal arts education, in which Wheelock is participating along with 41 institutions nationally. Also, as an Orientation Leader, Walters helped to make new students feel a part of the Wheelock community.

At Commencement, Walters spoke on debunking the theory of luck. Through his course of study at Wheelock, he has developed a store of knowledge that has provided him with the tools and skills that will aid in his chosen career path-this could never be replaced by luck. From the very beginning of his time at Wheelock, he was given the opportunity to utilize his knowledge in practice through field placement experiences. His advice for his graduating class: "So the next time someone wishes you luck, politely thank them but inform them that you will not be needing it because Wheelock has given you all you need to succeed."

Read the full text of Walters' commencement speech.

Mark K. Shriver, a children's advocate focused on advancing the rights of every child in America to have a safe and vibrant childhood, delivered the Undergraduate Commencement address. Shriver currently leads Save the Children's U.S. Programs, which works to ensure a fair start for all children in the U.S., and has spent his career fighting for social justice in advocacy and service organizations, as well as serving in elected office.

Visit the Commencement 2013 web page for photos and videos of the ceremony.

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