McKinley tells grads ‘sing your song’

Photo by Joselyn King West Liberty University President Stephen Greiner, at left, listens as U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., provides the commencement address during WLU graduation ceremonies on Saturday.

WEST LIBERTY — U.S. Rep. David B. McKinley encouraged new West Liberty University graduates to take risks, and to always “sing your song.”

McKinley, R-W.Va., provided the commencement address at the 183rd year graduation ceremonies Saturday at WLU. Information provided by the university indicated 371 students were expected to complete their degree requirements during the spring semester, and a large crowd of supporters attended events at the WLU Academic, Sports and Recreation Complex.

Prior to the commencement address, WLU President Stephen Greiner read a proclamation from the school honoring McKinley’s service, then bestowed upon him a doctorate of humane letters.

“The faculty at West Liberty has provided you with the tools and an education to make a difference,” McKinley told the students. “That said, You may still face the challenges and set backs of life. There are no guarantees.”

America was founded by people who took risks, and these people “pushed the envelope to see how much better this country could be,” he said.

“If America is to continue as a world power, each of us must be prepared to bear that mantle of leadership. Global leadership in medicine … education … research. That’s what made America great,” McKinley said.

“We have to have confidence to take a risk, and push the envelope to see how much better this country can be.”

Inside all of us are hopes, dreams and aspirations that define who we are, according to McKinley.

“All of us must find the confidence and courage to release our song, and to sing about it and celebrate it,” he said. “Unfortunately, all across America fewer and fewer young graduates are expressing a desire to take a risk. They are unwilling to reach for that higher bar. That worries me greatly.”

McKinley told the graduates there would be times when they doubted themselves, and would even fail. He encouraged them to nevertheless experiment and try.

“Now go out and do something,” he said. “Make something happen.”

Megan C. Lyle of Belmont served as student speaker. A mother and full-time employee at Wheeling Hospital, she graduated with a degree in professional studies. Following her high school graduation she received radiological training and joined the workforce, but had always wanted to further her education.

She said she decided obtaining a bachelor’s degree “would be beneficial to myself, the patients I serve, and my career.”

“My patients would receive better care … and I would be a more knowledgeable and more well-rounded person,” Lyle said. “I would also provide a better life for my son through my career advancement, and be a positive role model for my son.”