WLU’s December grads hear talk from BDC director Patrick Ford
WEST LIBERTY — Two-hundred and eight new graduates of West Liberty University heard calls Saturday to believe in themselves, the Ohio Valley and whatever it is they hold dear at the school’s fall commencement ceremony.
Patrick Ford, executive director of the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, addressed the graduating students, as well as their attending families and friends, with a message of “wanting to win.”
“Most don’t want to deal with any sort of project that comes with a grind,” he said. “But there’s nothing too small, no task too mundane. I bring my A-game to everything I do. I want to win.”
Ford said while many in the Ohio Valley tend to focus on what is missing, he said it would be best for graduates to focus on what is available and consider how to build upon it.
Ford said his childhood in Hutchinson, Kan., where he saw an economic downturn leave behind vacant properties and little of a safety net for families, is what motivates him today.
He said he wants to make it so every person in the Ohio Valley holds a decent job.
“That may sound unrealistic, but that’s what I believe,” he said. “Believing is doing — taking the calls, doing the work, taking the risk to do the deals. Don’t wait to hear the bell. Make it ring yourself.”
Maria Ganoe, the graduating student speaker, offered her reflections to comment on what it is WLU offers. She said the school presented an opportunity to meet others while laying out a path to follow and learn from.
“West Liberty to me is an astounding biology program with incredible opportunities, dedicated, caring professors and talented, driven students,” she said. “West Liberty to me is the place I ventured off to with my best friend and where I have grown up and received the chance to experience life.”
Ganoe is a first-generation college graduate. She earned the highest grade point average in WLU’s College of Science while completing her degree in three and a half years. She is an Elbin Scholar who will pursue a graduate program in medical physiology at the University of Florida.