SMC graduates hear ChaddockPublished 10:32am Monday, May 6, 2013
Though a faculty member and leader in community college education since 1984, Southwestern Michigan College’s 46th Commencement speaker Dr. Diane Chaddock started with 10 years in the medical field.
“This is the 30th commencement ceremony I have attended in one of those capacities,” she said Saturday in the gymnasium of the Charles O. Zollar Building on the Dowagiac campus.
She was first in her family to achieve higher education, graduating from Lake Michigan College in 1973 with an associate in applied science degree in medical lab technology.
“I never believed that would be the first step in an educational journey that would one day culminate in a doctorate” in higher education administration from Western Michigan University.
Chaddock, of Niles, retires June 20 after 23 years, including the last nine as executive vice president and chief operating officer.
“My plans were simply to get the training I needed to get a good job — and I did,” Chaddock said. “But a greater power had different plans for me. After 10 years in the medical field, an opportunity to teach laboratory technology at the local community college came up. I found I loved teaching. In fact, I remember saying to family and friends, ‘This is the best job in the whole world. I cannot believe they’re paying me to do this.’ I still feel that way.”
In spring 1990, in Indiana, Chaddock responded to a newspaper ad for a human anatomy and physiology instructor and math/science department chair at SMC.
She didn’t expect to be hired, “but something told me to apply.” Though a finalist, she lost to a candidate with a Ph.D. who turned SMC down. Six weeks later, No. 2 moved up.
As her unscripted career evolved, “I continued to prepare myself by continuing my education. At every risky new, unknown situation, a soft, but persistent, voice inside of me told me to accept these new opportunities. I think of it like this: Imagine opening a door on a long hallway you enter, but cannot see what’s at the end, just closed doorways. You start walking. When you least expect it, a door opens as you approach. This is no coincidence. You are meant to enter and begin a new profession guided by your spirit. Again and again, these doors open — often when you least expect. Don’t be afraid to enter. Quiet your head and listen to your soul. Trust it will lead you to the work you are meant to do. Your head will have all kinds of plans and goals, often driven by motivation for material things, ego, fame, power. Your head will be a loud voice, trying to dominate decisions. You must quiet your head to hear the soft, but persistent, voice of your spirit.”
SMC turns 50 in 2014
“I’ve had the privilege to stand before graduating classes here at SMC for nearly half a century,” founding Board of Trustees Chairman Dr. Fred L. Mathews said. “I have looked into the happy faces of thousands of graduates eager to go out and challenge the world. One of those happy faces is my granddaughter, Samantha,” who accepted her diploma from her father, SMC President Dr. David M. Mathews.
Having heard more than four decades of speakers offer advice on how to succeed, the high school dropout offered a guide to the flip side.
“Thousands of books have been written on how to succeed,” the 84-year-old high school dropout said. “Few, if any, are on how to fail. You will fail if you are inconsiderate of others. Too many people believe the world was created just for them, and they disregard the feelings of others. You will fail if you think the world owes you anything because of your education. The only ones owed anything are those whose victories and defeats paved the way for all the opportunities available to you. Among those might be faculty members, your parents, grandparents and even your great-grandparents, who now may live in a nursing home. You will fail if you start your business life looking for a job that suits you. You must suit the job. You will fail if you apply for a job inappropriately dressed and poorly groomed. You will fail if you climb the corporate ladder by stepping on people. You meet the same people on your way down. You will fail if you are intolerant of individuals with strange-sounding names and different-colored skin. Remember, you’re just as different to them. You will fail if you see corruption and injustice and do not fight it. You will fail if you suffer through bad politicians and do not bother to vote.”
SMC conferred 587 associate degrees and certificates to 403 students.
In addition, Ferris State University at SMC awarded 29 bachelor’s degrees.
Trustee Paul File was absent to see his son, Schuyler, graduate from law school at Regent University in Norfolk, Va.