Roanoke College

John J. Scherer speaks at Roanoke College's commencement

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  • John J. Scherer speaks at Roanoke College's commencement

  • 05/01/10
  • The class of 2010 includes 418 graduates from 27 states and 11 countries. Three Virginia students earned top academic honors. Stephen Charles Soltis, of Vinton, is the valedictorian. Lauren Jean Price, of Farmville, and Derek Paul Spangler, of Roanoke, are salutatorians.

    Scherer asked his five questions of the new graduates. They are:

    1. What is confronting you?
    2. What are you bringing?
    3. What is running you?
    4. What is calling you?
    5. What will unleash you?

    Regarding what is "calling" his audience, he suggested they consider what their "bone-deep gifts" are, saying that his son David, who was with him today, would ask, "What are you really good at that you've never learned? ...You've just been good at it ever since you can remember. What are those things inside you that must be expressed into whatever work you have, into whatever life you have?"

    He asked graduates to consider what may be "calling" them from the inside and from the outside, saying, "What's the difference you want to make in the world? What is the problem or situation in the world that you are a unique response to?"

    "Don't change yourself," Scherer said. "Come home to yourself. Face your tigers. Notice what you're bringing. Shift from automatic to authentic living. Find and follow what calls you, a purpose worthy of who you are, and allow life to teach and unleash you."

    Three honorary degrees were bestowed. In addition to Scherer, Douglas W. Ayres of Sedona, Ariz. and T.D. Steele of Moneta received honorary degrees.

    A native of Richmond, Virginia, Scherer was named one of America's Top 100 Thought Leaders for 2008 by Personal Excellence magazine. His firm specializes in executive and leadership development, conflict resolution and personal and organizational transformation. Scherer graduated from the U.S. Naval Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island and served as a combat officer aboard the USS Eaton (DD-150), receiving commendations for his work in anti-submarine warfare air control and intelligence.

    Ayres is a former town clerk for Salem and served as city manager in Melbourne, Fla.; Salem, Ore.; and Inglewood, Calif. He has worked with the Public Administration Service, an international governmental consulting organization. In this position, he was the only person to assist in drawing up the constitutions for both Alaska and Hawaii upon their transitions into statehood. He advised on and wrote major portions of nine city charters, including Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Richland, Washington; and several cities in Venezuela.

    Steele is credited with shaping the face of the Roanoke Valley through his pioneering development work in retail and real estate. He built Crossroads and Tanglewood malls. He has also enjoyed an accomplished and varied career in Virginia and Kansas as a cattle rancher and breeder and as a horse breeder.

    The baccalaureate ceremony was held Friday, April 30 with Rev. Paul Henrickson as the featured speaker. Henrickson is Roanoke's Timothy L. Pickle Dean of the Chapel.

    Roanoke College, the country's second oldest Lutheran-related college, is an independent, co-educational, four-year liberal arts college. Roanoke is one of just 280 colleges nationwide with a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest and most prestigious honor society. The Princeton Review names Roanoke as one of the "best in the Southeast." Roanoke's 2,000 students represent 40 states across the U.S. and 26 foreign countries.

    For additional information, call the Roanoke College Public Relations Office at (540) 375-2282.

  • Public Relations
  • (540) 375-2282
  • gereaux@roanoke.edu