USI’s Kuban tells graduates to follow passion


Nearly 400 students participated in Fall 2012 Commencement ceremonies on the campus of the University of Southern Indiana on Saturday.

Of about 600 students eligible to participate, 195 walked in the 10 a.m. ceremony for the College of Business and the Pott College of Science, Engineering, and Education, and 193 in the 1 p.m. ceremony for the College of Liberal Arts, College of Nursing and Health Professions, and Division of Outreach and Engagement.

Eighty-three students graduated with academic honors: five summa cum laude, 29magna cum laude, and 49 cum laude. A dozen Fall 2012 graduates are University Honors Scholars.

Emily B. Rastl ‘12 gave the reflection at the first ceremony and Kasey E. Burns ‘12 at the second. Hope Boeringa ’13 sang the National Anthem at each ceremony.

As the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished Professor Award, Dr. Paul A. Kuban, associate professor of engineering, delivered the Commencement address at both ceremonies.

Here is an excerpt from Kuban’s speech:

Steve Jobs said, “If you don’t have passion, you will give up.” Simple perhaps, but evidently true, because there were many times I would have liked to give up the quest for my bachelor’s degree – things like differential equations and electromagnetic wave theory come to mind – but the passion kept me going.

Some of you may be considering using your college degree to start a new business. You should be aware that most venture capital firms screen for entrepreneurial passion when deciding which ventures to fund. Cognitive passion, which is evident in the preparation and thoughtfulness of the presenter, often brings the investment.

Likewise, studies have shown that employees who are passionate about their work, generally advance at a quicker pace, and achieve higher levels of pay and responsibility. In a nutshell, if you decide to choose passion over pay, eventually you will have both.

President Linda L.M. Bennett shared an anecdote and quote from Dr. Donald E. Pitzer, professor emeritus of history, who told a 1987 USI graduate at that year’s Commencement ceremony, “If you try, you can fly.”

“That’s what our faculty do for our students,” Bennett said.

You can view images from the Fall 2012 Commencement ceremony on the USI Photo Services Facebook page:

USI began holding Fall Commencement in 2006 and added a second ceremony in 2008 to accommodate the growing number of graduates, family, and friends in attendance.