178th Commencement: Jewett Orator Taylor Myers

Jewett Competition Speech
May 3, 2015

Lessons Learned As A Pioneer

What does it mean to be a Pioneer? What lessons have you learned as Pioneer?

President Bruno, Board of Trustees, Provost Miller, Ambassador Beale, faculty, staff, family and friends: it is an honor to stand before you today alongside my family: the Marietta College Class of 2015.   

We learned many lessons during our time at Marietta College, and Marietta College learned many lessons from us.

We now know snow days are rare, Gilman will always be busy at 12:15 on a Tuesday, and there are lots of people who care about you in this world. We now know that Ryan Turnewitsch takes the best photos, Kurt Fire is the perfect person to fix your computer, and Taylor Myers owns more costumes than any human being really should be allowed to possess.

More importantly, Marietta College now knows how it can grow after three hundred incredible people leave their mark on this historic institution.

One of the best lessons we learned is that you cannot predict the future.

My sophomore year I dressed up as Uncle Sam to help register students to vote. After registering a couple hundred voters I got the bright idea of going to President Bruno’s Office to grab a picture. Now I never met President Bruno before that day — he was new to campus and I just started really getting involved. On my wat to the President’s office I ran into Dr. Miller. He agreed to accompany me on my journey and so we went up to President Bruno’s door and I knocked three times. He answered and then I walked in, handed Dr. Mark Miller my phone, and asked President Bruno for a picture for the yearbook. He questioned why the yearbook was taking photos on my cell phone. I replied, “I’ll tell you when you’re older.” I walked away with a new profile picture and a great story. My friends were amazed I did this and at dinner that night they questioned if I thought about the consequences of this spur of the moment decision. I laughed it off and said, “Don’t worry guys, I’ll probably never even talk to President Bruno ever again.”

We cannot predict the future. But now, like all other great Pioneers, we must charge forward and make new discoveries. Yes, as Pioneers we will march together to uncover solutions to world problems and initiate historic change.

Another one of the lifelong lessons Marietta College taught us is that failure is a good thing.

Whether it was registering for a class, participating in a theatrical or musical production, running for Student Body President, playing in the NCAA Division III Elite Eight, or entering the Jewett competition, we all signed up for a chance to potentially fail numerous times. We all did. And sometimes we did fail.

John F. Kennedy once said, “Those who dare to fail miserably achieve greatly.”

We must now go forward and fail over and over again. After all, Pioneers once believed the world was flat. Pioneers once believed our worldwide petroleum supply would be completely depleted by 1970. And Pioneers once believed Ohio’s greatest college should be called Muskingum Academy. Well, these Pioneers found out they were wrong, especially about the last one.

So we must never be scared to fail, because through failure the greatest lessons are learned.

These are just a few of the lessons we learned during our four short years here at Marietta College. But a Marietta College education isn’t for four years, it’s for a lifetime. Therefore, these lessons shall always be useful and should never be forgotten.

Now we march together down the path of the Long Blue Line, but our journeys shall vary greatly. It is our responsibility, as Pioneers, to give back to an institution that did so much for us during our brief time here. It is our institution's responsibility to keep us connected as we go forward. I am confident we all will hold up to our end of the bargain.

Class of 2015, close your eyes.

Now think about the best moment of your Marietta College career.

Now hold onto that moment in your heart.

Now open your eyes and see the future with unclouded vision.

Now raise your hand. Okay, that one was just to be funny.

Class of 2015, I thank you for four memorable years together. And now I wish you luck in regards to all of the adventures, all of the unpredictable moments, all of the failures, and all of the Piotastic moments yet to come.