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tv   Senator Rob Portman Delivers Ashland University Commencement Address  CSPAN  May 30, 2017 7:46pm-8:01pm EDT

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thank you. [applause] >> thank you, senator warren. [applause] >> the final commencement address this evening will be a by republican senator rob portman. he spoke earlier this month at ashland university in his home state of ohio. it's about 15 minutes. [applause] sen. portman: thank you very much. thank you for your friendship. thank you for inviting me to be here at this celebration. thank you to joyce and the board, and to the graduates, congratulations. you have been well launched. this is a great school. one of the great schools in ohio and in the nation.
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there are so many great programs, the business program the nursing program that is , award-winning, your premed and science programs. i think about ashbrook center because the ashbrook center is celebrating its 34th year of excellence in a few days. i love this campus, i love coming on campus and getting to know the students. the help and counsel i get from folks, including the ashbrook center. it's great to be here. it is neat to share the stage with joey, and josh, and zach. i'm pleased to have angie, who got her start in politics at ashland university as the college student body president. she did this a years after joey, but even today at our office in washington dc, she makes me call her madam president. joey, you can be your excellency.
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angie did help get this getlution passed to finally republicans and democrats together on something. it was unanimous the lady eagles deserved this resolution. isn't that great? congress finally got together on something. [applause] and we are in their house. congratulations to them. i'm already starting to draft a resolution for the baseball team. no pressure guys, but you better keep it up. to everyone here, scholars, athletes, every graduate, congratulations. this is really exciting to be part of this day with you. you came here as students, you are leaving as alumni. i am sure the alumni association will be contacting you soon with a letter of solicitation to congratulate you and ask for your help. anyway, i will give your
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graduation gift and try to be brief. you have so many friends and family here. thank you. let's hear some applause for that. [applause] [laughter] let me start by saying it is probably a bittersweet day for some of you. this is a good place to be. by the way, in your future there , will not be a steak night every month. the great food you had at ashland university, do not expect it unless you are a great chef yourself. i know you will miss grandpa's cheese barn. i will be there later this morning. they say ashland is the headquarters of nice people. even for ohio, people in ashland are nice. it is a place of civility. that is what i like about this campus, it is a place of civility. that you are seekers of truth and all points of view should be considered. we all have to do a better job
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of understanding other people's points of view. that's one thing our country needs right now. as you leave here, you will carry that with you, i hope. i know that you are going to miss other things, maybe even t uffy the eagle. but let's talk about the future rather than the past. this is called a commencement for a reason. it is a new beginning for you. you are launching the next chapter of your lives. dr. campo did a good job talking about the folks that are here that have been part of your strength. folks in the audience that believed in you when you do not believe in yourself. probably people here who have helped you in various ways. maybe they helped with your tuition. that's why they are celebrating today, because tuition payments are over. that would be understandable. but here's the point. the success you celebrate today is not just about you, it's about everyone who got you to this point, including teachers,
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administrators, family. we've already given them a round of applause. .et's celebrate your team let's give them another round of applause this morning. [applause] have talked to some of you this morning, and i'm glad some of you will stay home. most are from ohio, i'm glad you will stay in ohio. we need you here. because some of you will stay in ohio, i will give you reminders of some of the ohio valley as -- values. i'm talking about a few famous ohioans that exemplify those values. here, we are not for our work ethic. i've been traveling for the last couple days. i did a radio interview in cleveland. the host was saying young people are lazy. they don't have the work ethic. i don't see that. i see a lot of hard workers. you wouldn't be here by the way, graduating, if you did not have the work ethic. it is something to be reminded
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of, because i do think that's an issue today, that somehow we are not holding up the dignity of work and hard work. when you think about it it is , part of ohio. my kids get tired of me saying this, but one of my favorite sayings is, "the harder i work , the luckier i get." i say that because i think some people will say getting ahead is somehow out of your control, that it's a matter of luck. i don't believe that. i believe you have the ability to chart your own course. hard work is the ingredient of success over which you have the most control. circumstances and conditions will change all the time, but can change are the rules of your success. that is true in the boardroom, the shop floor, the senate floor . let's talk about who exemplifies that. brothers,the wright ohio's most famous brothers?
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they grew up in a house without electricity, a telephone, running water. neither had a high school diploma. they did have ohio work ethic. they had full time jobs running a bicycle shop, yet they pursue their passion. a lot of smart people who had more advanced education had already tried to build a flying machine. leonardo da vinci being one. but they are the ones that succeeded. they did this by the time they were 40-years-old. no pressure. it is an incredible achievement, hard work pays off. by the way, there's no feeling in the world like current -- earned success. working hard and accomplishing something. that's something you already know, you are here. the second is determination. let's face it. no matter where you are in life and where you go, you will have challenges, bumps in the road. given that there will be bumps in the road, you will be challenged to respond to that one way or another.
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giving up is sometimes easy to . giving up sometimes seems to make the difficulties go away, but it is the quickest way to fail. let's talk about another great ohioan. thomas edison. he grew up nearly deaf. his teachers told his parents he was either inattentive or unintelligent. he was sort of kicked out of school. he left school at 14 and started selling newspapers. he also started tinkering with things, because he had a mind that was racing. he wanted to be an inventor. when he was 22 he made a vote counting machine that he tried to sell to the u.s. congress. this may shock you, but congress times.ind the it took them until 1974 to get the machine. he failed there. his first attempt at inventing was a total failure. he was rejected, but persistent. he didn't give up. by the time he was 31, that
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nearly deaf kid that nearly failed in school invented the phonograph. he made some of the first sound recordings in history. after that, he went on to work on everything else, including incandescent light bulbs. he and his staff conducted 2000 experiments on the lightbulb to find the best materials. they experimented seven days a week for five months, when one day a friend dropped by to say "i'm sorry you have gotten any , results." his response was i think helpful in thinking about the future. his response was, "i have gotten plenty of results. i now know several thousand things that don't work." persistence, he kept at it and became the most famous inventor of all time. for someone with that attitude, there are no setbacks just , learning experiences. when i first ran for political office, there was a poll taken, showing that i had 6% name
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identification. by the way, more than half of those thought i was a guy named todd fortune. he ran for city council. this was not a good sign. a lot of people said, you are nice, but you won't make it. you should give up. i was persistent. i was able to succeed. my passion was to represent my neighbors. be in elected office. your passion will be something, don't give up and show persistence. follow that dream. finally, along the lines of what was said earlier, let's talk about service for a second. to whom much is given, much is required. we have many examples of that in ohio. we are the home of eight precedents -- presidents. nine supreme court justices, 24 astronauts, and more than 800,000 veterans. some of them are here this morning. they were acknowledged earlier. god bless you guys. [applause]
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thank you. think you for serving our -- thank you all for serving our country. the last famous ohioan i will mention is a public servant who i have gotten to know very well. he is best known as being the first american in space. his name is john glenn. he was a famous person in my before hea hero, long went into space. when the japanese attacked pearl harbor, he was a college kid. for the 19-year-olds that you war two hits, pearl harbor is attacked john glenn , decides he's going to serve. he put his dreams aside. he left his high school sweetheart and signed up to be a marine corps pilot. he flew 59 honda missions in the pacific. -- combat missions in the
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pacific. when the korean war broke out, he stepped up again. he flew 90 more combat missions. for his distinguished bravery he was awarded. people don't realize that about john glenn, a hero long before he became an astronaut. after his historic spaceflight, he decided to pursue a different type of service. he ran for office. he represented ohio for 24 years, longer than any other senator in the history of our state. about one year ago, i asked john come meet with my staff. he and his wonderful wife showed up, and they peppered john glenn with questions. it was really interesting, because he told my team that happiness in life does not come from all the material things you think about. in his you, at 90 something years old at the time happiness , in life comes from one thing, and that is serving others. in some way. he spoke about serving the cause greater than yourself. he's an example of someone who never stopped finding ways to
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serve. with his talents, he could have done anything, absolutely anything. he chose a life of service. it doesn't have to be politics, that's not right for everybody. i understand. all of us have the opportunity to serve in our communities. many of you already do. i know you will leave here energized to do more to help make sure your neighbors are represented by you. in the next chapter of your lives, i hope these incredible ohioans will inspire you to work the wright brothers, work hard like thomas edison, and serve others like john glenn. thank you for giving me the honor to be here today. godspeed to you all. and go eagles. [applause]
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