Advice, wisdom from diploma ceremony speaker Pat David

Pat David, BS '81, talks to Gabelli School of Business graduate students during their commencement on Monday, May 23, 2016.

Pat David, BS ’81, talks to Gabelli School of Business graduate students during their diploma ceremony on Monday, May 23, 2016.

In less than 10 minutes, Pat David, head of diversity at JPMorgan Chase, made the assembled Gabelli School of Business graduate students at the Beacon Theater laugh, think, and get inspired.

David was the speaker at the MBA and MS diploma ceremony, during which she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Her remarks packed a lot of meaning into a little time. Here are some highlights, from funny to personal to profound.

On graduation day:

Now one good thing about graduation: You get to wear a big hat. It makes you look like you have a big brain.

Her parents’ advice:

Have confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself … who else will? Speak like you mean it, with conviction. Eat and take care of yourself. Look out for each other. We all start at the same place, and we’re all going to the same place. Luck is good, but don’t bet on it. Be great at something.

About health:

Your health is the most important thing. Believe me, I know what I’m talking about. If you’re dead, you can’t enjoy life.

On the graduates’ future:

My dad used to tell me there were three types of people in this world, just three: Those people who make things happen. Those … who watch things happen. And those people who wonder, “What’s happening?” You want to be number one, and make great things happen. Children who have not yet been born are relying on [you] to hand them a better world.

A message to her mother:

Seven years ago, my mother passed away. And she was my biggest mentor and cheerleader. “Mom, I made it. I’m a doctor … and this is for you. Your sacrifice has been fully paid.”

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