Ellsworth to speak at 2011 Graduation

Jessie Hellmann

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When Brad Ellsworth graduated from Indiana State University-Evansville in 1981, he said none of his classmates thought he would become sheriff or congressman.

Now Ellsworth will be returning to USI to speak at the commencement ceremony Sunday at Robert’s stadium and to receive his honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree.

“It all just goes to show that you never know what’s around the corner,” Ellsworth said. “It’s a huge honor for me.”

Ellsworth served for 23 years in the Sherriff’s office in Vanderburgh County and was elected to U.S. Congress in 2007.

“Giving back and wanting to be apart of the solution and trying to make things better: that’s what motivated me to run for sheriff, and that’s what motivated me to run for congress.”

This year’s graduation will include 1,700 graduates, bringing USI’s total number of alumni to 30,000.

Among these graduates is biology major Steven Geiss. He was awarded the President’s award, the highest award given to a USI graduate.

He carried a 4.0 throughout his college career and studied abroad the past semester at Harlaxton College in Grantham, England.

Geiss involved himself with several student organizations during his four years at USI and advises students not to be too one-dimensional regarding their college experience.

“School is very important, but it’s the people you meet and the things you experience in school that make it truly memorable,” he said.

Geiss will be attending the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis.

“Leaving so many people will be hard, but I am excited to start a new experience and do what I have always wanted to do with my life,” he said.

In the fall, graduation is held at the Physical Activities Center, but it is held at Robert’s Stadium in the spring.

Special Events director C.J. Regin said the event is moved to Robert’s Stadium for spring commencement because more people graduate in the spring than in the fall. Regin said fall graduates are welcome back to participate in spring commencement as well.

She described spring commencement as “intimate”.

Doors open at 1:00 p.m. and the ceremony is scheduled to begin at 3:00 p.m.

For those that are unable to view the ceremony at Robert’s Stadium, live streaming will be available for the second year in a row.

Ellsworth said the main point of the speech he will deliver is volunteering.

“The focus is about going above and beyond public service and volunteerism and how that can lead to success as much as formal education,” he said.

Ellsworth’s advises graduates not be nervous about entering the real world, because everyone does it at some point.

“Find something that you enjoy doing that you don’t get paid for, and do something nice for somebody else,” he said. “It may lead to more openings than what you ever believed.”

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