Pfeiffer graduates get words of inspiration from NCAA chief Pfeiffer graduates get words of inspiration from NCAA chief

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

MISENHEIMER ó Pomp and circumstance filled the air Saturday as prospective 2008 Pfeiffer University graduates adorned in black ceremonial regalia proudly marched to the traditional tune. The sea of smiling graduates waved and pointed to the stands, where hundreds of family and friends looked on. The names of approximately 150 undergraduates were called during Pfeiffer’s spring commencement Saturday.
Pfeiffer’s Class of 2008 not only received their well-earned diplomas Saturday, but they also received words of wisdom from the president of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Dr. Myles Brand.
The new graduates were released into the world on Brand’s advice, which discussed the importance of increased character. He advised them to treat others with respect and compassion, which seems “old-fashioned, but it could not be more relevant today.” He also assigned them new roles as “citizens of the world” and charged each one to practice selflessness and to diligently seek ways to make significant impacts on their respective communities ó and the world.
“The challenge for you, then, is to discern among what you have been taught, what the world presents to you as instruments of change and what thought and logic you apply to ensure that civil society is advanced,” Brand explained. “The challenge for you is not to sit by in solipsistic silence but to make a difference ó a moral difference.”
Throughout his enlightening and motivational speech, the philosopher, academician and former university president shared some of his own life stories, lessons, and why he chose to, instead, devote his efforts now to collegiate sports.
“I like what college sports ó and sports at all levels ó stand for,” Brand explained. “The concepts of teamwork, fair play, sportsmanship, personal discipline, learning how to lose ó and to win ó with grace, and a steadfast commitment to excellence lie at the core of amateur athletics, from recreational sports to the highly visible basketball and football championship games.”
Termed by some the “education president,” Brand has presided over passage of the most comprehensive academic reform package for intercollegiate athletics in recent history ó a package that refocuses the attention of student-athletes, coaches and administrators on the education of student-athletes. Brand has also changed the national dialog on college sports to emphasize the educational value of athletic participation and the integration of intercollegiate athletics with the academic mission of higher education. His tenure has helped reestablish the indispensable role of university presidents in the governance of college sports. The NCAA regulates more than 1,200-member colleges and universities.
Brand served as president of two major universities. From 1994 through 2002, he was president of Indiana University, an eight-campus institution of higher education with nearly 100,000 students, 17,000 employees and a budget of $3.4 billion. He also served five years as president at the University of Oregon.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., and his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1967.
Brand’s academic research investigates the nature of human action. His work focuses on intention, desire, belief and other cognitive states, as well as deliberation and practical reasoning, planning and general goal-directed activity. He has also written extensively on various topics in higher education, such as tenure and undergraduate education.
Shortly after granting well wishes to the graduates and their families, Brand was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by Pfeiffer trustees and administration, including Pfeiffer President Dr. Chuck Ambrose.
Pfeiffer will hold its annual summer commencement on Aug. 2 for students earning degrees from the Adult and Graduate Studies programs.
Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a comprehensive United Methodist-related university, with multiple campuses, including Charlotte and the Triangle, committed to educational excellence, service, and scholarship.