【NEWS】Graduation Speech for the NCCU Graduating Class of 2023

Proud Parent Perspective: A Graduation Speech from an IMAS Student’s Parent

Dana Lockridge, a Commissioner for the City of San Antonio and a Personnel Management Analyst for the U.S. Army’s 106 Signal Brigade in San Antonio, Texas, USA, delivers an inspiring speech at the CSS Commencement Ceremony. She takes the stage as the proud mother of Faith Woods, an IMAS student who is a Student Representative of the second year. In her speech, she shares profound insights and motivates the graduating class with her words of wisdom.

Watch her full speech in the video below.

Graduation Speech for the NCCU Graduating Class of 2023
by Dana Lockridge

It is a great privilege to address you today, graduates, faculty, and family, on a day that marks one of the most important accomplishments of your life. My name is Dana Lockridge, and I am a Management Analyst for the United States Army, serving at the 106th Brigade Command. Additionally, I serve my city as the Commissioner for District 2 in San Antonio, Texas. However, most importantly, I am the proud mother of Ms. Faith Yvette Woods, one of today’s graduates.

Maya Angelou once said, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” I have always embraced this principle in life and parenting, and it has been an exhilarating experience to see my daughter fearlessly take on the challenges of a new country and culture. Seeing her embrace every moment with an open heart confirms that Maya Angelou’s wisdom still holds true.

NCCU is a magical place, where the dynamics of differences and uniqueness seem to exist in extremes. I remember the day I sent my daughter Faith off to Taiwan. As I waved goodbye to her, I hoped that she would remember my teachings on embracing differences and never being afraid to showcase her uniqueness. I encouraged her to normalize diversity and to not shy away from standing out, whether in appearance or personality. The magnificence of humanity lies in our multitude of ways of being.

By equipping her with the light and love to thrive in a world that may not always reciprocate the same good intentions, I prayed that Taiwan would embrace her for all that she is. I walked away thrilled for her and for life. In that moment, to the amazement of our loved ones, my daughter was heading to a faraway land to live and study. I walked away confident that I had prepared her to take on the world. As the scripture in Proverbs 22:6 states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The magic of Taiwan is that almost anything can happen. I have witnessed it in the life of my daughter and even during my visit here.

I draw upon the wisdom of Nelson Mandela when he says, “What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” The difference we make in the lives of others—our families, friends, and even strangers we have met—defines who we are. Therefore, graduates, I challenge you to embrace your differences and confidently embark on your next adventure, knowing that your momentum inspires those around you.

I would like to express my gratitude to National Chengchi University and the International Master’s Program in Asia-Pacific Studies (IMAS), under the directorship of Dr. Liu, for embracing the uniqueness that my daughter and our culture bring to the great nation of Taiwan.

To the graduating class of 2023, I urge you to savor this moment and this great day as you emerge ready to change the world. Dream big for your life, for there has never been anyone like you, and there never will be. Do not let your dreams be hindered by the pressures of tradition. Always embrace who you are and the unique qualities that you and others bring to this world. In doing so, you will discover your divine purpose in the fulfillment of your goals.

Now, this is your time. The light of new opportunities shines upon you. Go forth with purpose and a sense of pride in your accomplishments. Do it in your own unique way, leaving no room for regrets. Thank you.