Air Force general challenges graduates to have purpose

June 5, 2017

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Edward F. Crowell challenged about 130 graduates at Troy University to “always have a purpose in life that is beyond position or money.”

Crowell, a TROY alumnus who is president and chief executive officer of VT Miltope and serves on TROY Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address Friday, June 2, to joint commencement exercises for the University’s Phenix City Campus and the Columbus/Fort Benning site.

“As each of you look toward your future, always focus on finding that which you do well and that which you love doing. Do something that gives you satisfaction every day and that makes your society a better place. Do something that helps your fellow citizens,” he said. “Make sure you give a good measure of your time, talent and treasure in service to others.”

Crowell also encouraged graduates to engage in the civic affairs of their communities, states and nations.

“Participate in the governing of this country,” he said. “Serve on local committees and boards … seek elective office if you’re so inclined. We can’t wait for Superman to come and save the day. ‘We the People’ are the supermen and superwomen. We are the ‘deciders.’ Make yourself smart about the issues. Don’t fall for slogans and one-liners, and money. Don’t fall for the hate peddlers and the cable pundit commentators.

“Make your own mind up. Make your decisions and if you don’t like what (the politicians) are doing, vote against them; if you like what they’re doing, then keep them, but don’t sit on the sidelines. Be a part of the solution and not the problem,” he said.

Harkening back to the nation’s Founding Fathers, he challenged graduates to build consensus and not to be afraid to work on compromises that move society forward.

“Go forth from this place inspired by those who went before. Go forth and take your place to form your duty and serve our nation. Go forth to make this a more perfect Union,” he said.