Lydia P. Patton, IIT associate director, International Outreach & Engagement, Community College Initiatives in the Office of Student Access, Success, and Diversity Initiatives, delivered the 37th Commencement Address for Antigua State College in St. John’s, Antigua on June 26, 2014.
Patton’s speech entitled “Stand Up, Step Out For Stopping Is Not An Option!,” reflected her passion for the power of higher education. She is the first African-American woman to graduate with a doctorate degree from the School of Education at the Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Patton was elected to deliver the commencement address by the student body of Antigua State. She has met with the students while holding several sessions with them over the past three years for her role as an Advisor of Caribbean Recruitment Initiatives for IIT. She emphasized to these students that success is hard work – but every individual is capable of excellence.
During the speech, Patton told graduates: “You must never see an obstacle as a stopping block, see them as markers for you to cross over, you must never look up at a mountain thinking it is too high to climb, strap up your boots, make your back pack lighter and scale to the highest heights, and never come to one of life’s rivers thinking the water is too deep to cross. Walk up and down the river bed and find the rocks…always placed there for you to get across.”
This event reflects the values expressed in IIT’s Diversity Statement and is intended to promote diversity at IIT.