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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

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Miguel Gomez

Senior Miguel Gomez gave a student reflection during the 2016 ceremony.

Photographer: George E. Mauzy Jr.

Senior dance major Najah Braswell performs during the Friday ceremony at Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

Senior dance major Najah Braswell performs at the 2016 Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje event on Friday.

Photographer: George E. Mauzy Jr.

Kushinda singers

Seniors Marcia Winkfield (L) and Erica Stubbs (R) sing during the annual Friday event that celebrates graduating multicultural students.

Photographer: George E. Mauzy Jr.

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Alumnus shares 10 rules for success at Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje Graduation Celebration

About 90 multicultural students participated in annual ceremony


This year's Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje Graduation Celebration keynote speaker Jerome W. Williams, a 2009 graduate of Ohio University, shared his 10 rules for success with about 90 multicultural graduates on Friday evening in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium.

A Cleveland native, Williams has found success as an audit leader is in the Operational Risk Group of Wells Fargo Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina. He said he is also a proud and active member of both Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the Ohio University Alumni Association.

Williams enthusiastically told the graduates that these rules for success are the things they need to do to be successful in life and in their careers as they leave college:

  1. Pray. God is number one in my life and he gives me strength every day.
  2. Be yourself. People can tell when you're not being yourself, so always embrace yourself.
  3. Be goal setters. Set your goals and work hard toward accomplishing them.
  4. Stay involved. Through my involvement in organizations and groups away from work, my network has grown. It's not always about what you know, but who you know.
  5. Know your worth. Negotiate your salary and benefits, and don't be afraid to ask for what you want from your employer. The worst thing they can do is say no.
  6. Find a mentor. Find someone on a higher level than you so that you can ask them questions and learn from them.
  7. Continue your education. It doesn't always mean going back to school. It can be additional training and certifications. Expand your knowledge.
  8. Find your balance. Work hard and play hard. Find out what you like to do away from work (ex. Shopping, travel, etc.) and use it as a personal reward for your success at work.
  9. Give back. You never know what you would have or where you would be if others hadn't given back to help you. This is something I pride myself on.
  10. Pray again. Thank God for all that he has done for you. I am standing here as a true testimony for what God can do.

Williams shared one last thought before exiting the stage.

"Everyone has a story, a different story, but a story nonetheless," he said. "My hope is that you take what I shared tonight and apply it to your life. I hope these 10 rules for success will enhance you and your story and one day you may return to Ohio University to speak at Kushinda."

Before Williams spoke, Pam Benoit, executive vice president and provost at Ohio University, told the graduates to find a balance in their life and be careful not to let their work consume them.

"That will allow you to invest time and energy into your relationships with your family, friends and loved ones because those relationships are the keys to living a happy and fulfilling life," Benoit said.

She also told them to build bridges wherever life takes them.

"Build bridges between what the world currently is and what it can be," Benoit said. "We value the richness, diversity and the strength that you brought us during your time at Ohio University and we're very proud to call you alumni."

Jamie Patton, assistant dean of students, also shared some words of wisdom with the graduates.

"Know that the work that you've done over the last four years wasn't just about you. It's the work that has been built up over years," Patton said. "Think about your grandparents and parents and know that it (your degree) will affect your children and your children's children. You've changed generations by your persistence. Congratulations."

Kushinda/Ritos de Pasaje is described as an intimate gathering for family, friends and members of the Ohio University community to celebrate the culture and accomplishments of the multicultural undergraduate graduating class.

The ceremony was established in 1997 as two separate programs for African American and Latino students, but has since been joined together. Kushinda is an African word meaning “to win” and Ritos de Pasaje translates as “rite of passage” in Spanish.”