UM speaker encourages service among graduates

Service above self should define life after graduation for those who have graduated from the University of Montevallo, a member of the school’s class of 1956 told the class of 2010.

As hundreds of University of Montevallo seniors crowded into the school’s Palmer Auditorium Oct. 8 to celebrate the university’s Founders’ Day, Mary Louise Dabbs encouraged the gradates to use their upcoming degrees to better “their part of the world.”

“There is one thing you can do that will surely make a difference in your lives and the lives of those around you, and that is to serve,” Dabbs said to the gowned seniors. “You may become a teacher, a salesperson or the CEO of a huge organization, but service to others is what gives meaning to our lives.”

Every Oct. 8, University of Montevallo seniors don their caps and gowns for the first time as they parade into Palmer Auditorium to celebrate the anniversary of the school’s 1896 establishment.

During her speech, Dabbs urged the soon-to-be graduates to resist selfishness and continue to seek education after college.

“What will you do with this world? Criticize it, pollute it, ignore it or serve to make it a better place?” Dabbs asked the crowd. “We can’t expect a university to teach us everything we need to know, but this is a great time to learn what you can.”

Even though the seniors gathered at the event to celebrate their upcoming graduation, Dabbs cautioned the group against thinking too far ahead and neglecting their academic responsibilities.

“You’ll be alums before you know it. But first, you must graduate,” Dabbs added. “Make Montevallo a better place because you were a student here.

“Study hard, and make your moms and dads proud,” Dabbs added. “Make your alma mater proud, too. She has served you well; now you go and serve others.”