Hannibal-LaGrange graduation sees 230 receive their degrees
May 16, 2006
Hannibal – College graduates walk a fine line between “young adult” and “adult.” Their distinguished robes cannot camouflage their wide grins, and even as they file solemnly into their graduation ceremony, they can’t resist a quick, giddy wave at their loved ones.
On May 6, the campus of Hannibal-LaGrange College (HLG) overflowed with 230 graduates, their family and friends as the school celebrated its 148th commencement exercises. The morning provided a mix of humor for the “young” and solemn for the “old.”
“For these graduates, this day marks the achievement of goals set long ago and met through diligent study and personal sacrifice,” said HLG President Woodrow Burt. “For the families and friends of graduates this day marks the fulfillment of dreams shared and fostered through the years.
“You graduates sit here today because years ago you made a significant choice and in turn you have achieved an important goal in your life,” continued Burt. “The Hannibal-LaGrange College family congratulates you on achieving this goal.”
This year’s commencement speaker was award-winning creative catalog strategist Lois Boyle, president and chief creative officer of J. Schmid and Associates, Inc. After receiving her associate of arts degree at HLG, she continued her education in marketing at Central Missouri State University and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Since 1980, Boyle has worked with companies like Hallmark, American Express, and Better Homes and Gardens in their marketing departments. She has earned the Kansas City Direct Marketing Association’s AMBIT Award for outstanding achievement, and was also named Kansas City’s 2001 Direct Marketer of the Year. Boyle was also given an honorary doctorate of philosophy at this year’s commencement ceremony.
As testament to her creativity and marketing prowess, Boyle took the stage in full graduation regalia…and blue, fuzzy boots.
“I promised my parents I wouldn’t embarrass them but I think I just did,” said Boyles with a laugh as she shows off her footwear. “When Woodrow [Burt] asked me to speak today, I truly had no idea what I was going to talk about. What could I tell 200-plus people in 15 minutes, anything that would make an impact on your life? I know about advertising, that’s all I know about…so my big question today for all of you is, ‘what will be your blue fuzzy boots?’”
Boyle went on to explain how she, as a marketing professional, teaches her clients how to articulate and market their brand.
“Brands show what a product is all about, what the true essence of who they are is,” explained Boyle. “It’s a company’s personality. What does this have to do with these crazy boots I’m wearing? Next week if you’re talking about this commencement speech, and my name happens to come up, I’ve been branded. I’m now known as that lady with the furry blue boots. This is what you’ll remember about me.
“So how will you brand yourself in life? How will people remember you,” asked Boyle. “What will you be known for? How would your friends, families, and co-workers fill in the blanks about you? As individual creations of God, you have a powerful opportunity to become something incredible, to become your own special powerful brand.”
Boyle went on to stress the importance of the “ripple effect,” in which one’s actions affect others.
“Sometimes we don’t make the right choices, but we do have a ripple effect. People are watching. Your classmates are watching, your children are watching, your friends, your parents. People are watching. What’s the brand that you’re going to have? What will be your fuzzy, blue boots?”
In addition to the conferring of degrees, and the commencement address, several honors were announced. Betty Rhoads, assistant professor of physical education at HLG, was awarded the distinguished service award. Rhoads has held various positions at HLG since 1974, including head coach of women’s softball and volleyball teams, athletic director and director of intramurals. She now serves as chair of the social science division, as well as the chair of the physical education department at HLG. Rhoads is also active at Immanuel Baptist Church of Hannibal. She and her husband, Steve, reside in New London. Rhoads will be taking early retirement at the conclusion of this semester.
Also at commencement, the Parkway Distinguished Scholar award was awarded to Jerry Thomason. The $1,000 award is given by Parkway Baptist Church in St. Louis. Selection for the award is based on professional and personal outstanding contributions to Christian education.
Thomason joined the HLG faculty in 1980 as director of drama, became a professor in the English Department, and currently heads up the Theatre Department. He also serves as the chair of the Fine Arts Division. He has served as faculty representative on the Administrative Council and is a member of the Missouri Association of Christian Theatre.
Thomason is a specialist concerning Mark Twain and has had four articles published in The Mark Twain encyclopedia and he holds the rights to the Mark Twain play “Colonel Sellers.”