Shippensburg graduates told best 'yet to be'

December 18, 2005|By BONNIE H. BRECHBILL


After earning his degree in psychology from Shippensburg University in 1979, Jeff Lee has worked for several various Fortune 100 companies, including Time Warner and Johnson & Johnson.

Lee, of Raleigh, N.C., is senior vice president of PepsiCo and president of Cecil Street Investment Group LLC.

But, Lee said, he was "academically challenged" in college, and took full advantage of the social and party life of the school.

Speaking at winter commencement at his alma mater on Saturday, Lee said he still is striving to be all he can be. Despite the war in Iraq, the consequences of Hurricane Katrina, corporate corruption and a struggling economy, "the best is yet to be," he said.


"That 'best' is you," he said. "It's your ability to achieve goals, dreams and aspirations. The American dream is alive and well."

Achieving success or achieving mediocrity is in the mind, Lee said.

"It's about thinking clearly, courageously and confidently, feeding your mind with the right information, being in the right environment and associating with the right people," he said. "I knew there was more to life than the southwest Philadelphia streets."

Lee recommends developing a plan and putting it on paper.

"What do you want to do in the short term? What do you want to do in the long term?" Lee asked.

Lee said his successful career "did not just happen when I walked out of this university."

While developing a career is important, Lee advised students to also pay attention to their finances and their health.

"Appreciate the privilege to give to others," he said. "You'll be amazed at the impact on your financial portfolio."

Lee also recommends "an above-average prayer life," and spending quality time with loved ones.

Lee has received many awards, including the YMCA Black Achievers Award, Black Opinion Magazine/Black Achievers Award, National Association of Developmental Education Outstanding Alumni Award and Pepsi-Cola North America Top Team Performance Award. He also is listed in the Who's Who Registry of Business Leaders.

Six hundred eighty-five students - 481 undergraduate and 204 graduate students - received their degrees at Heiges Field House from G.F. "Jody" Harpster, interim president of the university.

Among those receiving undergraduate degrees was Rachel Cooper, 26, of Mechanicsburg, Pa., an elementary education major who plans to substitute teach while looking for a permanent teaching position. Celebrating with her were family members from Michigan, Colorado and Ohio.

"This is a big thing," Cooper said.

Michael Jones, 23, of Philadelphia, received his undergraduate degree in sociology and plans to study for his master's either at Shippensburg or Temple University. He wants to work in the criminal justice field, either in criminology or forensics. His parents, grandmother, aunts, uncles, sister, nieces and nephews attended the ceremony.

Seven members of the class of 1956 led the commencement procession.

Recipients of the Outstanding Young Alumnus Awards were Teresa R. Black, class of 1992, of Fannettsburg, Pa.; Todd Cressler, class of 1993, of Mechanicsburg; Robert Orndorff, class of 1988, of State College, Pa.; and Rob Rutz, class of 1987, of Mechanicsburg.

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