Moments of Truth, People of Greatness

Fri, 07/01/2011 - 5:00pm
Commencement 2011

“You may be leaving Spring Hill, but Spring Hill will never leave you,” Patrick J. Balthrop Sr. ’79 told more than 300 graduates who filed down the Avenue of the Oaks on May 7, 2011.

Balthrop, president and CEO of Luminex Corporation, a life sciences technology company in Austin, served as keynote speaker for commencement.

Spring Hill’s roots run deep in the Balthrop family. “From my generation, I have siblings and first cousins and a brother-in-law and dear friends who have attended Spring Hill. From your generation, I have a niece sitting among you who is graduating today,” Balthrop said. “So ‘The Hill’ and all that it embodies has been part of my life and my family since way before I was born.”

The principles of leadership and ethics he learned at Spring Hill have stayed with Balthrop throughout his personal and professional life. “A Spring Hill education does not teach you what to think but rather how to think. Spring Hill teaches you to know what to stand for, and to be held accountable,” he said. “I can tell you, in the real world these are not just concepts in a textbook. They are all too real.”

“In your moment of truth, how will you react?” Balthrop challenged the students. “I am afraid that there are no easy answers. But Spring Hill teaches you – has taught you – to do what is right and just, to be faithful to those whom you love and to yourself.”

“I can say with some confidence that the principles that you have learned here will stay with you for the rest of your life,” Balthrop confidently closed.

Benjamin “Travis” Brown, nominated class orator by his fellow graduates, delivered the address to his senior class. He, too, reflected on the ways in which Spring Hill has prepared students for important life decisions. “Spring Hill College has done more than simply educate us. It has helped form the way we think, the way we interact with others, and the way we view the world around us,” he said.

Brown affirmed Balthrop’s remarks that a Spring Hill education teaches students more than concepts in a textbook. He explained that the professors teach with passion and invest in each student. “We have been part of a community that emphasizes the uniqueness of the individual, not the uniformity of a collective,” Brown said. “We have been through some of the most formative years of our lives and made some of the most difficult decisions of it as well: who we are, what we believe, where we’re going. We have been fortunate to mature in such an environment.”

After reflecting on his four years at Spring Hill, Brown realized what is most important in life, as well as what he will miss most about Spring Hill College. The greatest men and women, he said, have made investments in people rather than things. “Think about it. Which will you miss most when you leave this campus? Your dorm room or your roommate? The cafeteria or the relationships you built while eating there? Intramurals or the friends you made while playing on the same team?” he asked. “It’s the people that make the memories and ultimately shape our lives.”

Brown called upon his fellow graduates, “So, my friends, I challenge you with this: know who you are, do something beautiful with your life, place yourself with the right people, and be expectant; for I am convinced that life will be exceedingly, abundantly beyond all we could ask or imagine.”