Larry Parker Gives Commencement Address At Keuka College

Larry Parker II, Elmira College Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Title IX Coordinator, gave the baccalaureate address and invocation during Keuka College’s 2023 commencement ceremonies.

For Parker, who worked at Keuka College before joining EC, the invitation to speak is a testament to his many contributions to the region including his role at Elmira College, as an author, his appointment to the Chemung County Human Relations Commission (CCHRC), and community service in Elmira.

"It was such an honor to be asked to be the keynote speaker at Keuka College's baccalaureate address," said Parker. "I cannot thank Keuka College enough for giving me this opportunity. To go from a high school dropout, earning a Master’s degree, publishing a book, working on a doctorate, and now being asked to participate in a prestigious educational institution's commencement activities, is just amazing! I thank God for the opportunity."

Parker added that he was very humbled to know that 60 years earlier, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the baccalaureate address during the Keuka College commencement ceremony.

In his speech, Parker used the title of his book, “Get It? Got It? Good!” as a framework for the advice he shared with the graduating class.

He told the graduates that to “Get It” means understanding who you are and what you are made of by seeking out and experiencing challenges. To “Got It” is about knowing what it will take to accomplish future goals. Parker told them to ask themselves, “What skills, abilities, or development do I need to add as I transition into the next area of my life?”

In the final section of his speech, he said that “Good!” does not mean comfortable or content, instead it means “Go!” He told the students it is ok to “bomb” their first interview or to dislike their first job. What is important is to keep going. To illustrate that point, Parker ended his speech with a quote from King.

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."

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