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SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer talked about “tomorrow” with more than 650 graduates of St. Bonaventure University Sunday morning – and he wasn’t kidding.
“This is a day to be proud. A day to rejoice. But I want to talk to you about tomorrow. I mean tomorrow … Monday morning," said Meyer, SBU Class of 1976 and 1979.
“Most of you have made a decision to go pro. Your formal education process is over. For most of you, this professional phase will last more than 40 years. It’s a long and hard journey.”
Meyer urged the graduates, as they enter the workforce and compete with 1.8 million other young people earning a four-year degree in 2018, to “trust what you have learned here. With the education you’ve received here, you will be ready to handle anyone. If I can do it, you can do it.”
Meyer told graduates to not fear failure because “you’re going to fail more than you succeed,” and stressed the most important attribute they can possess: “Work hard. There is no substitute.”
Meyer concluded: “We need you to bring energy, curiosity. We need your passion, and we need your desire. We need you to push us forward.”
Meyer served on St. Bonaventure’s Board of Trustees for 10 years, completing his term in 2017, and co-chaired the Presidential Search Committee that hired Dr. Dennis R. DePerro, the university’s 21st president who presided over his first Commencement.
Jim and Nina Meyer, ’79, are longtime supporters and benefactors of the university, with significant gifts in support of The Bonaventure Fund, the Sixth Man Club, the campaign to build the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center, and the university’s the new cybersecurity program.
Meyer has also provided internships — including all living and transportation expenses — for more than 20 Bonaventure students at SiriusXM in Manhattan over the last decade.
Meyer was among three people to receive honorary doctorates of humane letters Sunday. John and Kay Meisch, longtime benefactors of the university, were also honored.
For more than two decades, the Meisches have been the principal patrons of the annual Francis Week celebration, funding the Fr. Jerome Kelly Francis Week speaker.
Their philanthropy has aided the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, the renovation of the women’s basketball locker room in Reilly Center, the Mountain on the Road program run jointly by Mt. Irenaeus and Alumni Services, as well as the activities endowment for Students in Free Enterprise (now Enactus) and the university’s general endowment.
Ethan Kibbe of Harrison Valley, Pa., addressed his classmates, including his twin sister, Ellen. They are the last of four Kibbes to attend St. Bonaventure; at one point, they were all on campus at the same time.
He said he was thrilled to have all of his siblings on campus at the same time, but he quickly learned that his family would grow.
“Here, we become members of all sorts of families,” Ethan said. “I found families in the student newspaper staff, my teammates on the cross-country team, and even the professors in the Jandoli school.
“These family members don’t have the same parents or grandparents, and we come from all over the world,” he said. “But we all have the same color blood coursing through our veins: brown and white.”
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.
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