Top State Officials Speak to MMI Graduates & Officers
Marion Military Institute (MMI) held its Commencement & Commissioning ceremonies on Saturday, May 10, 2014 in the William R. Ireland Athletic Center on the junior college campus. Delivering the commencement address to the class of 2014 was none other than Rep. Mike Hubbard, Speaker of the Alabama House of Representatives. Eighty-three cadets participated in the ceremony.
In his speech to the class of 2014, each of whom received an associate’s degree, Rep. Hubbard focused on the themes of confidence and character. He related those to personal life experiences in founding the Auburn Network and, later, his political achievements within the Alabama Republican party.
“You have every reason to be confident, “ he told the cadets. “After all, you have a lot going for you. You’re graduating with a degree from an incredible institution. You have been taught and cultivated by a faculty known for its ability to produce high-quality leaders."
"You’re part of a generation that’s rewriting the very definition of technology and social interaction," Hubbard continued. "Most importantly, you live in the United States of America, where your opportunities are limited only by your capacity to dream. You know, in other parts of the world, your career path, and even your personal life, are decided for you. But in America, you’re not only free to pursue your dreams, you’re encouraged to do so. It’s just part of who we are. The point is, unlike in other places and in other times, in America, your future is not a foregone conclusion. Your life is entirely up to you. And that confidence can give you freedom as you commence your journey today.”
Following an outdoor reception for graduates and their families at the MMI President’s Quarters, Early Commissioning Program (ECP) cadets changed into their dress blues to take the oath as 2nd lieutenants. Speaking to these new Army officers was Brig. Gen. Steven Berryhill, Commander of the Alabama Air National Guard.
Brig. Gen. Berryhill encouraged the ECP graduates to focus on grades and becoming role models while completing their bachelor’s degrees. He then reflected on the start of his Air Force career on May 10, 1980, exactly 34 years ago, when he was commissioned by his father, COL James Berryhill, a combat rescue helicopter pilot. Sharing generational wisdom, he delivered a Top 10 list of advice to new officers, to include the importance of loyalty, persistence, and finally—“Always remember who you are and what you represent.”