Pfeiffer graduates advised to take risks
Pfeiffer University’s graduates not only received their well-deserved diplomas Saturday, but they also got some advice to “take risks” from N.C. Secretary of Commerce and Pfeiffer alumnus Keith Crisco.
The names of more than 150 graduates were called during Pfeiffer University’s spring commencement Saturday.
As their names were called, graduates received their diplomas and shook hands with Pfeiffer President Dr. Chuck Ambrose.
Crisco, keynote speaker and fellow Pfeiffer graduate, was appointed by Gov. Bev Perdue in January. The Aquadale native shared stories about his own life growing up in Stanly County and how he acquired a “thirst for knowledge.” He advised them, as a successful entrepreneur, how his experience at Pfeiffer, where he met his wife, Jane, positively impacted his personal and professional life. The Harvard MBA graduate, who believes he talked his way into the Ivy League university, also shared the critical role bold leadership plays in all facets of life ń and how Pfeiffer contributed to his success as a leader.
Crisco discussed the importance of being kind, learning to adapt to change, having fun along the way, and laughing at yourself.
But many times throughout his address, he emphasized to his audience the importance of risk taking. As N.C. Commerce Secretary, he told the new graduates despite the economy, difficult times and an increased state unemployment rate, learn to “take risks and be nimble.”
“If you learn to take risks,” Crisco said, “great things will happen.”
Before his current appointment, Crisco was president and chairman of Asheboro Elastics Corp. for more than 20 years. A company he founded with associates, Asheboro Elastics has offices in seven countries, manufacturing facilities in Central America and the United States, and sales around the world. He was also president of Stedman Elastics in Asheboro for eight years.
A Stanly County native, Crisco earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics from Pfeiffer in 1964 and a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard University. After graduate school, he worked as assistant to the executive vice president for Burlington Industries. Crisco worked his way up the ladder during his 10-year career with the corporation, which placed him in roles in Chicago and New York.
No stranger to politics and public service, Crisco served as a White House fellow in Washington, D.C., and as assistant to the U.S. Secretary for Commerce during the Nixon administration. He has also served on the Asheboro City Council, on the boards for Randolph Community College and Pfeiffer University, where he served as past chairman, as well as chairman of the N.C. Center for Public Policy Research and as chairman of the National Elastic Manufacturers Association.
Several students were also recognized for high achievements in service and leadership:
– Emily Horning, Christian missions major from Eugene, Ore., received the Pearl Walton Fisher Citizenship Trophy for scholastic achievement, good character and service above self.
– Andrea Chiz, of Valdese, a political science major; and Sara Clarke, of Wake Forest, a Christian education major with a leadership education minor, were named the Bertram F. Bonner Foundation Leaders for their commitment to community outreach and demonstration of leadership.
– Nathan Brooks, a music major from Rockwell, and Jeff Chewning, of Landis, a Christian education major, were recognized as the Scott and Mary Liz Francis Scholars for their outstanding scholastic achievements, service and leadership.
Brittani Forte, a communications major from Richfield, received the 2009 Senior Scholastic Achievement Award with a cumulative grade point average of 4.11. She has served as co-editor-in-chief of the Falcon’s Eye student newspaper for the past two years and was on staff for four years. She was a peer tutor in the Leadership Center and was named the 2009 Outstanding Student in Journalism Award recipient.
Pfeiffer will hold its commencement for graduates who will have earned degrees from the Adult and Graduate Studies programs on Saturday, Aug. 8.
Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a United Methodist-related university, with campuses in Misenheimer, Charlotte and the Triangle.