A Charge for the Recent Graduate

May 30, 2018
  • Bob Chapman
  • Bob Chapman
    CEO & Chairman of Barry-Wehmiller

A few years ago, I attended the high school graduation of one of my granddaughters.

It was in a beautiful venue and I sat in the seats with my wife, Cynthia, and we watched my granddaughter walk down the aisle with the 150 or so other students. Everyone was so proud of their child. Everyone was pleased that their child had the opportunity to go to one of the best high schools in the country and they were pleased at the thought that they would attend a good college or university.

Everyone was applauding and looking forward to their children entering the larger world, but I had a different reaction. I had a tear in my eye.

Many of these young people will face workplaces devoid of caring. Many will encounter managers who will manage them, not lead them. Many will be viewed merely as the function they serve—she’s an engineer, he’s a mail clerk, he’s a machinist—and not as the precious human beings they are. My concern is that we have not created a world where they will have the opportunity to become all they were meant to be.

I had a tear in my eye, but there’s hope in my heart. I have hope that one day people will understand true leadership and that our workplaces will become places of caring. That is the work I am committed to and the workplace that we at Barry-Wehmiller aspire to each day.

A few weeks ago, I was honored to give the commencement addresses at Colorado Mountain College. I gave a charge to those students that as they go forward, they should measure their success by the way they touch the lives of others. This is how we create this better world, one person at a time. As these young graduates become leaders, may they remember this charge.


You can watch my commencement speech here:


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