Novelist shares wisdom at summer commencement ceremony

Julianna Baggott, an associate professor in Florida State's College of Motion Picture Arts.

Keynote speaker Julianna Baggott encouraged Florida State University’s newest graduates to work deliberately and consistently for success during summer 2013 commencement exercises Aug. 3.

“Inspiration, luck and innate talent require no work,” said Baggott, an associate professor in Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts. “If you want to succeed, put in the hours, days and years that it takes. When there is no wind, row. When there is still no wind, row double-time.”

To underscore the importance of putting forth a sustained effort, Baggott — a novelist, essayist and poet who has written 18 books — said the name of her profession is “novelist,” not “first paragraphist.”

In discussing the joy she feels in writing, Baggott charged the graduates to choose work that totally consumes them so that they will not even feel the hours passing by. She also encouraged them to involve themselves in the lives of others.

“Stand up for someone else. Do the right thing. Tell the people you love that you love them. And be generous and kind, and it will come back to you,” she said.

Approximately 2,315 students graduated this summer. Prior to conferring degrees upon the more than 1,100 new Florida State graduates in attendance at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, President Eric J. Barron gave special recognition to those with honors in their major; those graduating cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude, as well as two students with a perfect 4.0 GPA; and members of the university’s Garnet and Gold Scholar Society, which requires students to engage in three of five areas of achievement: leadership, service, internship, international experience and research.

Barron also recognized graduates on active military duty and those who are veterans. Graduating student-veteran Austin Capers, an Army veteran who received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social science, lead the Pledge of Allegiance during the ceremony.

On what is always a landmark day for graduates, new Florida State alumni were brimming with pride over their accomplishments and ready to take the next steps in their lives.

“Doing two majors was a lot of hard work,” said Ryan Bratteig, 22, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social science and sociology. “I haven’t really taken a break. I’ve been in class every summer. It’s been a long time coming for me, so I’m very happy to be finally graduating.”

Bratteig, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., hopes to stay in Florida to do research work.

Cara Nied, a 23-year-old native of Dallas who graduated with a master’s degree in communication science and disorders, will be going to work at a school of nursing facility in Texas.

“I’ve got a job and I’m very excited about it,” Nied said. “A master’s degree was a lot of hard work. Florida State is a really top-notch school, so I’m really proud of everything I’ve accomplished here.”