..."Success will not come to you if you rest on your laurels and wait for it to find you. Most dreams will not come true without hard work, struggle, and sacrifice."
President George Weah has warned graduates of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University (AMEZU) that, while it is good to dream big, the end result of the dream does not become a reality "without hard work, struggle, and sacrifice."
The President, in an optimistic commencement address to a sea of graduates donned in black robes, noted that while the graduates have acquired skills and a broad knowledge; it nevertheless means, success will come for those who work for it.
"Today, by graduating from this prestigious Institute of Higher Learning, you have acquired many skills and a broad knowledge base that will give you a competitive advantage over those who have not been as fortunate as you," Weah told graduates in his commencement address. "However, success will not come to you if you rest on your laurels and wait for it to find you. Most dreams will not come true without hard work, struggle, and sacrifice.
"In my experience, after adequate preparation, success will only come to those who are dedicated and disciplined enough to do the work that will make it happen. I want to encourage you to dream and to dream big dreams. But then, I advise you not to make dreams your master but to wake up from the sleep of dreams and go to work to make it happen," he said.
Citing his football political and footballing careers, he reminded the graduates to never be afraid of failure as they go out charting their own way as failure is a crucial part of success and it takes time before a dream becomes a reality.
The Liberian leader added that in his professional life, he has seen and witnessed many failures along the way but, along the way, he never gave up. Instead, he took stock of his journey, recalibrated, and continued.
"I want you graduates to know that failure is a crucial part of success. Failure teaches you a lesson that you must be willing to learn, and only when you learn that lesson will you benefit from your failure," President Weah added. "In my own career, there were many failures along the way. At the beginning of my soccer career, for example, I was benched many times before I became a regular member of the starting teams."
"But I used my time on the bench to study the game and the other players, and learn from their mistakes, so that each time I got the opportunity to play, I tried to make sure that I made a positive difference to the game. And you are all aware that in my political career, I ran for President and was deprived twice, but I did not give up.
"Each time, I took stock of my journey, and I went back to where I had left my dream, and recalibrated, and continued my journey. Eventually, I applied those lessons to develop a winning formula. And here we are today," the Liberian leader added.
Also, touching on the Class of 2022 name, "Kamba Wa Ma", which means "God Did It", in the Liberia Vai language, President Weah told the students that they have started from the bottom in so many ways, as there was a time when they could not find school fees or transportation.
"There was a time when you did not know how you would pay your graduation fees; and finally, there was a time when you were not sure that you would make it to graduate; but now you are here. Kamba Wa Ma!!! God did it!!!
He added that while he looks forward to seeing the graduates enter the country's workforce, whether as public servants or entrepreneurs, they should know that without hard work and perseverance, dreams will not easily become a reality.
"And in a rare public admission, Weah told the graduates that he was addressing them as an alumnus because the University was the first to have awarded him an honorary doctorate degree, which was 23 years ago. The university at the time awarded him a degree of Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa) in recognition of his efforts, achievements, and humanitarian gestures as a philanthropist and a world-class athlete.
"I want you to know that I seriously cherish this Degree, and it has been given pride of place among all of the many others that I have received since then. And the fulfillment of your dreams will call for that kind of commitment," Weah noted. "And so as you now go forth from these academic halls to begin your new lives, careers, and businesses, remember that it may take a while for you to turn your dreams into reality.
"But this is your life, so do not be afraid to chart your own way. Don't be afraid to walk your own path and make your own footprints. At the end of the day, you will be able to look back with pride," he added.
The University's 31st commencement convocation transitioned 356 students, in various disciplines, including Divinity, Education, Criminal Justice, Business, Agriculture, and Liberal Arts.
AMEZU has a current enrolment of 3,000 students and, in the past, matriculated over 10,000 graduates since its founding in 1996 by an Act of the National Legislature. The commencement convocation ceremony took place at the University's Vincent Town, Po River campus, in Bomi County.
Meanwhile, the President of AMEZU, Dr. Benjamin Lartey, has disclosed that the University plays its role in the investment of human resources; and is confident and proud of its products.
"Liberia is faced with numerous challenges as we continue to pick up the pieces and transform our nation into what [it] should be," he said. "AMEZU has a lot of opportunities ahead in the reconstruction of a new Liberia in the 21st century. We hope to expand and develop new programs to meet the manpower needs of the nation."