ADEP Commencement Speaker 2012 – Raymond DeLaughder
Q: How did you find out about the ADEP program?
A: I was new to the geographical area after retiring from Army service and currently unemployed. I was accepted into the Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation program and was told to choose any university of choice, preferably a private university. I toured a couple of campus locations each approximately 30 minutes north and south of Oxnard. A family member told me of Cal Lutheran, so I did some online research. I then did a self-tour of the campus and was overwhelmed by the “family” atmosphere and absolute sincerity from each person I met. I scheduled a meeting with a guidance counselor and the rest is history! It’s the campus and its people that drew me in. In addition, the support received by the faculty and staff never subsided my entire tenure with CLU.
Q: What inspired you to try out as a speaker for Commencement?
A: I was actually completely unaware that there is a process to apply as an ADEP Commencement speaker. I heard some students talking about it in a class and thought, “That would have been neat to try out for, but it’s too late now.” A short time later I received an e-mail with a tone of “distress” asking for Commencement speaker volunteers. It was bad timing for me as I was inundated with college coursework, etc. and I really wasn’t going to try. I spoke with my mother and she said I should go for it, and since she was coming down to attend the ceremony I thought it would be nice for her to see her son speak if selected, so I went for it.
I had a difficult time trying to capture how I felt and what CLU meant to me as well as articulate the struggles of my past two years. I was pleased to learn of making the finalist list due to the fact that I was very busy prior to my audition so I had relatively little time to practice. About an hour after my audition, I received an email congratulating me on being selected. I honestly didn’t think I performed well enough but I’m an overachiever and always give myself less credit. I was very happy and I immediately called my sweet mother!
Q: What was your key message to your fellow students?
A: Given my 20+ years of practical leadership experience, I wanted to instill and ensure my colleagues that they had received the proper training and experience developing a personal feeling of assurance with which to meet the inherent challenges of leadership. I charged them to practically apply the wealth of knowledge they have gained toward their pursuit of commitment to service and justice. I asked them to be the CLU standard bearer and global leader setting them apart from others, while making a positive impact wherever they may find themselves. I encouraged them to be decisive in their actions, volunteer to take the difficult tasks, stand by their convictions, treat people with equality, and always take the “hard-right” over the “easy-wrong.” Now I can only hope my message resonated with a few of them.
Q: Now that you’ve graduated, what do you plan to do?
A: I would really like to continue onto the CLU MPPA program however, I just started a new career and must become a subject matter expert in my field first. I’ll take maybe a 3-term break and then look into the MPPA program. I’d really like to teach leadership classes with the CLU ADEP program but I need an advanced degree for that. Not to mention that my mentor, Professor Dave Tofanelli, said I “owe him” an advanced degree and my potential is unlimited so I don’t want to let him down!
Q: In a few words, define being a successful ADEP student.
A: Set goals, be determined and focused, collaborate with your teachers as they will help you, draw strength from your fellow students and learn from their experiences, do NOT procrastinate, study very hard, use the main campus library and writing lab as time allows, try to find a good work-life balance, invest in the APA Publication Manual as well as various online writing software, and link your CLU e-mail account to your Smartphone!