|Dr. Scott Hutchens delivering the keynote address at Delta State University’s 81st Fall Commencement, Saturday.
Delta State University celebrated its 81st Fall Commencement this morning inside Walter Sillers Coliseum on the campus. Friends and family, along with Delta State faculty and staff, gathered to honor the accomplishments of over 380 graduates.
Delta State President, Dr. John M. Hilpert opened the morning service, offering, “Each of today’s graduates has reached a milestone, and we are here to recognize their achievements. On behalf of the faculty and staff, I extend congratulations to all graduates.”
As has been the long-standing practice, the winner of the S.E. Kossman Outstanding Faculty Award delivers the fall commencement keynote address. The 25th overall recipient of the honor this past May, Dr. Scott Alan Hutchens, an associate professor of Psychology and coordinator of the Psychology Program, offered wisdom and advice to the graduating class with his address, “Off the Wall Comments.”
The keynote analyzed the 1979 rock classic, “Another Brick in the Wall,” by Pink Floyd. The famed lyrics denounce the value of education, suggesting education creates blind conformity to society. The chorus of the song, which Hutchens made the graduates sing, repeats, “We don’t need no education. We don’t need no thought control. Teachers leave them kids alone. All in all, you’re just another brick in the wall.”
Hutchens addressed the irony of the song’s meaning, instead highlighting the importance of earning a higher education and controlling one’s thoughts. “Graduates, you possess the most complex structure in the known universe – your brains,” he contended. “The human brain, with over 100 billion neurons firing in harmony, is the most complex structure in the known universe. The brain makes us everything we are and allows us to be conscious, to have a unique personality, to think, to make decisions, to remember, to perceive, and to do everything we can do.”
He continued, “Thus, getting an education is the best investment you can make,” and that “through controlling your thoughts, an education gives ordinary people the ability to do extraordinary things.”
His genuine and entertaining address also focused on four ways to avoid becoming just another brick in the wall: being kind to others; avoiding fear of criticism; resisting materialism; and seizing the day to live an extraordinary life. Hutchens urged the Class of 2007 to “make a career of something you enjoy doing, but do not let your career define you.”
One graduate in particular hung on Hutchens’ every word – his wife, Elisabeth. She was graduating with her master’s degree in Elementary Education.
On the day, three doctoral degrees and 13 educational specialist degrees were conferred, while 106 master’s degrees and 261 bachelor’s degrees were awarded through the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Business, the College of Education and the School of Nursing.