Moore tells MCC grads: ‘Don’t wait your life away’

Garth Sleight, associate dean of academic affairs at Miles Community College, has attended countless commencement ceremonies. He said Saturday’s 77th Annual Commencement at MCC was something special.

“I’ve never taken notes until today,” Sleight said, advising the graduates to heed the advice delivered by State Sen. Eric Moore in his commencement address.

As hundreds of family members and friends watched from the bleachers, the industrious Class of 2017 — 105 cap-and-gown clad  graduates earned 132 degrees —  strode to the stage to accept their diplomas.

And they departed the Kailey Gymnasium — some to the work force; others to four-year schools — with some words of wisdom from Moore, a Republican and businessman who represents the Miles City area in Montana Senate District 19.

Noting the school’s “Start Here, Go Anywhere” marketing slogan, Moore offered what he called “five tools to pack in your suitcase to go anywhere.”

Be a Problem Solver: Society, Moore told the graduates, is “chronically short of problem solvers,” but full of people who lay blame. He advised tackling problems head-on — “poke it in the eye, knee it in the groin, ... be a problem annihilator.”

Work Hard: Moore, an avid reader of biographies, said hard work is necessary, and success goes to the “early-risers and all-day strivers.”

Find your Passion: “I’ve never worked a day,” said Moore, a feed lot manager. “I found my passion early.”

Be Brave: “Fear is the most powerful emotion that we as humans can feel. Courage,” Moore said, “is the mastery of fear.”

He said Theodore Roosevelt admitted to “pretending to be brave until he was [brave]” when leading the charge up San Juan Hill. “In other words, fake it ‘til you make it,” Moore laughed.

Have Faith: Moore takes his faith from his religion, but to each his own, he said. But have faith in something, he told the graduates.

“The way to beat back fear is have faith,” he said.

Don’ts: Moore also told the graduates to avoid becoming single parents, or choosing the wrong partner, scenarios which can make success more difficult to achieve.

And don’t be controlled by any substance, be it drugs, alcohol, tobacco or food, the senator advised.

He closed by telling the MCC Class of 2017 to live every moment.

“Don’t wait your life away,” Moore said. “Too many people spend all day waiting for 5 p.m.; all week waiting for Friday; all year waiting for those two weeks in July ...”

MCC President Dr. Stacy Klippenstein added some levity to the proceedings, despite being 140 miles from Miles City.

Klippenstein, wearing cap and gown and appearing on the jumbo screen behind the stage, explained in a pre-recorded message that he was attending his son’s graduation at MSU-Billings.

He congratulated the graduates, and closed by turning his back to the camera, raising his cell phone, and asking the Class of 2017 to pose with him for a selfie.

Dr. Rita Kratky, MCC’s vice president of academic affairs, served as emcee in Klippenstein’s absence and acknowledged the crowd.

“These graduates could not have been successful without the support of family and friends,” she said.

She also acknowledged the school’s alumni — the school has given thousands their start since its founding in 1939 as Custer County Junior College.

“You are now becoming part of a larger MCC family — the alumni,” Kratky said.

Kratky also introduced Dannette Cremer as the 2016-17 inductee to MCC’s Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame, and presented Staff and Faculty Excellence Awards.

She recognized Outstanding Graduates and Honor Graduates. Tyra Fuhrman is the class valedictorian, while Amy Zehms and Kryastal Adams are the salutatorians.

Dr. Mark Petersen, chairman of MCC’s board of trustees, spoke of the technological tools that today’s graduates have at their disposal.

“Use that power. It radiates all that knowledge,” Petersen said.