MAILED: Aug. 11, 2000
A University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire alumna today offered insights and shared memories of her college days with the university's summer graduates.
In her "Charge to the Class," titled "Learn From the Past, Look to the Future, Live in the Present," Jann Ozzello Wilcox reminded the graduates not to worry about making mistakes.
"Trying your best is essential, but you are not expected to be perfect … yet. Don't be afraid to say, 'I was wrong.' You will win the respect of those around you and then move forward to make the best of it," she said.
Ozzello Wilcox, chief financial officer at Marquette BANCSHARES in Minneapolis, graduated with a bachelor of business administration in accounting in 1974. She delivered the commencement address during the 9:30 a.m. ceremony in Zorn Arena. Summer commencement exercises were held for 214 students at UW-Eau Claire, including 164 candidates for bachelor's degrees and 50 candidates for master's degrees.
In her speech, Ozzello Wilcox encouraged the graduates to embrace change, identify new opportunities, adapt and move forward, noting that during her professional career her jobs have significantly changed every three or four years in ways she hadn't anticipated.
"I once read that progress is not a straight line but a circle with many detours," Ozzello Wilcox said. "I think the key to enjoyment is learning to enjoy the process rather than focus on the end result."
Ozzello Wilcox also emphasized the importance of doing what you enjoy and what you are good at. She encouraged the graduates to identify their special talents, and pursue a career or work environment where these special skills are the key success factors.
"The greatest good and happiness reside in the exercise of one's talents," Ozzello Wilcox quoted Aristotle as writing.
In her final insight, noting that this was not a top 10, but only four, Ozzello Wilcox shared her views on excellence.
"Excellence is not about perfection it is not about awards or position. It is truly about doing your best with your special talents and making a difference. It doesn't have to be dramatic or end up as a headline in the newspaper. It is having the satisfaction of knowing that your contribution is making a difference."
In closing, Ozzello Wilcox asked that graduates think about the people that have made a difference in their lives and find their own way to define it.
"Ordinary people can do extraordinary things! And each of you can make a difference a great difference."
UW-Eau Claire's fall semester classes will resume Sept. 5.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Aug. 15, 2000