See the full Spring Commencement photo gallery.
Just before 350 University of Montevallo class of 2022 graduates walked across the stage during Saturday’s commencement ceremony on Flowerhill lawn, History Professor Emeritus Dr. Wilson Fallin Jr. left graduates with three points to govern the rest of their lives by:
- Think critically about the great issues of life
- Broaden horizons
- Be in a wholesome state of dissatisfaction
“We’re here to recognize those of you who are graduating,” Fallin said. “You have done well. But let me begin my very brief remarks by raising a question, ‘what should people get from an education? What’s the purpose of education? What is important about getting an education and finishing a college as you are today?’”
Fallin, a Bessemer native who was director of minority affairs at Montevallo from 1988 to 1999, and a professor of history from 1992 to 2020, told graduates that most of their answers to his questions likely have something to do with getting a job and making money. He said that’s important so as not to become a “pest on society,” but a college education, especially a liberal arts education, should go beyond that.
“There are other aims and objectives that an education ought to provide. Let me mention three things.”
The first is having a mind trained to think clearly, critically and constructively. A college-educated person should know how to distinguish truth from error, good from evil, average from excellent. A soft-minded individual is easy prey to ignorance and prejudice, demagoguery and bombastic displays, he said.
Secondly, education broadens horizons.
“I would say to my students, who I see some of in the audience, if you think the same way you think now as you did prior to your four years of liberal arts education, your training here has been in vain,” he said. “Education helps broaden ideas, not just the ideas from the local community from which you came, but ideas that are universal.”
“When you broaden your mind, you think of worldview and what you can contribute to the world.”
His third and final point, was that education should create a wholesome state of dissatisfaction. To always be dissatisfied with better when the best can be achieved.
He said the man satisfied with ignorance will never be knowledgeable. Be restless about the status quo. Be dissatisfied with war, poverty, disease, illiteracy and injustice, so that these great global issues can be met with resolute remedy.
Prior to Fallin’s speech, SGA President AnaKate Andrasko provided the graduates with clarity and perspective about their shared journey.
“These past four years have gone by in a blink of an eye allowing us to grow in what feels like record time,” Andrasko said. “Today is not a static point in time as we prepare for our next adventure. Remember, life changes. The famous Winnie-the-Pooh said, ‘how lucky I am having something that makes saying goodbye so hard.’ The memories of laughter, friends and mentors can be taken with you today, but today you say goodbye to a season of your life.”