Members of EOU class urged to serve as mentors

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Jun. 13—LA GRANDE — Members of Eastern Oregon University's graduating class were urged to extend hands of mentorship at the commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 11, at Quinn Coliseum.

Brady Layman, the President's Scholar of the class of 2022, made this request after first encouraging the graduates to find their own community, one filled with people who will support them, and then to support the younger members within that community,

Layman said that when he looks back upon his time with the EOU Chemistry Club he is not proudest of the trophies and awards the club received but the students he mentored.

He said those being mentored are the next series of stars destined for greatness.

"Be the catalyst in your community to lower the activation energy barrier needed for other people to succeed," Layman said.

He also spoke of the importance of being sure of one's self.

"Flip that voice inside your brain telling you that 'you can't' to 'you can.' Other people do not know the doubt you may have inside you, so don't show it to them," Layman said.

Near the conclusion of his presentation, the President's Scholar encouraged the class of 2022 to strive to be inquisitive.

"Always, wonder, question and inquire above all else," said Layman, who received bachelor of science degrees in biology and chemistry-biochemistry and won the 2022 EOU outstanding student award.

Abel Mendoza, a member of the EOU board of trustees and the commencement's keynote speaker, encouraged the members of the class of 2022 to embrace the challenge of continuously learning.

"Remember that this is just the beginning. The path to success requires continuous learning," said Mendoza, a 1972 Eastern graduate who worked for Dow Chemical for 26 years before serving as a chemistry professor from 2004 to 2014.

Richard Chaves, chair of the EOU Board of Trustees, also spoke. He started by saying that he always feels passionate about giving back to EOU because of all that Eastern has given him. Then he diverted from his script and recalled that when he was dealing with a serious health issue over a portion of the past year, he was astounded by the level of support he received from so many people at EOU.

"It helped drive my passion to be successful in winning that battle," Chaves said.

A 1973 Eastern graduate, Chaves concluded his presentation by urging the class of 2022 to be generous in giving back to their communities and to Eastern, and to stay linked to their alma mater.

"Stay connected to EOU for the support you may need now and also so that you can support others in the future," he said.

More than 350 students received diplomas at the June 11 commencement. They were among the approximately 675 students who graduated from Eastern in the 2021-22 academic year.

The June 11 ceremony was originally scheduled to be conducted at Community Stadium but was moved to Quinn Coliseum because of a forecast of heavy rain. Quinn Coliseum did not have enough room for everyone coming to the event. To allow everyone to be accommodated there were periodic breaks so that people whose loved ones had already received their diplomas could leave to make room for others waiting to watch their loved ones make their commencement walks.