Alumni Words of Wisdom

We asked alumni to share some words of wisdom for the class of 2018. Here is some of the the great advice we received.

AudieSandra_Inline300 Be confident that the University of Minnesota has prepared you for career success! Believe in yourself and be willing to change directions. No matter what, follow what you are passionate about. Acquire more skills and experience as you pursue your dreams and never be afraid to take a step back in order to take a bigger step forward!
- Sandra Audie- CLA '15, Mahtomedi, Minnesota


As long as one is passionate about one's endeavors, those endeavors will richly reward one's efforts.
- Marjorie Crump-Shears - CEHD '63, Cotati, California

Follow your dreams, but be conscious of your strength and limitations. Stay focused and think long term.
- Midhasso Foge - CSE '07, Palmdale, California

Join and be active in the U of M Alumni Association. Live life with a positive attitude. It's true - Do what you enjoy and you will never have to work a day in your life. Best Wishes as you move through your life.
- Ed Frederick - CFANS '54, '55, Waseca, Minnesota

GiuffiKrista_Inline300 Your career path may be a winding road, but embrace change and see any challenge as an opportunity! Don't forget to take time to focus on what's really important in your life-- while jobs may come and go, your family, friends and talents will remain. Stay happy, healthy and always remember the U of MN helped you get to where you are :).
- Krista Giuffi - CLA '02, Chicago, Illinois

You're entitled to nothing....sweat plus sacrifice equals success.....hard work pays off.
- Peter Garvey- CLA '82, Saint Charles, Illinois

Continue to actively pursue learning both inside and outside of the classroom. Mistakes are a part of life. I encourage you to never let your mistakes hold you back. Never let your past weigh you down. Never be afraid of jumping in and trying something new.
- Shruti Iyer - CSE '14, Minneapolis, Minnesota

This may sound trite, but stay true to yourself and your dreams. Do what you love. Employers often try to steer talented people into roles that will best serve the employer. Who can blame them? But make sure that role is also something you want and will find fulfilling.
- Sue Kirchoff - CLA '74, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Remember that you have power. While you may not have a lot of experience, the perspective you bring to the table and the skill set you have outside of your major is valuable.
- Echo Martin- CLA '12, Saint Paul, Minnesota

I've been learning the greatest leaders that inspire us the most are not necessarily those with the highest titles, but those with the highest integrity, loyalty, and compassion.
- Luis Moreno - CSOM ' 01, Twin Cities, Minnesota

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Any career you choose, you will be asked to develop strategy. Most people don't know the definition of strategy. They think it’s simply a list of activities, an annual retreat, or a mission statement. Always remember, Strategy is an interrelated set of CHOICES that allows you to WIN.
- Paul Reppenhagen - CSOM '97, Edina, Minnesota

Stay in touch with ALL of your college friends, not just the close ones. Someday they will be your clients, customers, employers, collaborators, investors, and business referrals - and you theirs.
- Charles Rysavy - CLA '83, LAW '86, Verona, New Jersey

When you have a good idea, stick with it! Listen to others, but make your decision based on what your head and heart tell you. I had a "little" idea about providing quality of life for people with advanced dementia. It started with one nursing home and is now international!
- Joyce Simard - CEHD '83, Land O Lakes, Florida

First job is to start working towards a position you love. Share yourself; keep growing; help your colleagues grow; be humble about success; fully acknowledge those who have helped YOU grow.
- Lavon Sumption - CFANS '51, '57, Lincoln, Nebraska

To thine own self be true.' Never settle for being mediocre, when you can be excellent, at whatever you decide to pursue. And pursue it with all of your soul!
- Aimee Sutton-Kaduscwicz - CLA '95, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Prioritize getting good and varied experience over money. The rewards will naturally follow.
- Scott Woker - CSOM '98, Woodbury, Minnesota

Constantly build and don't burn bridges - you never know who’s going to be able to establish a new connection. Don't ever be afraid to ask -you may be surprised and get a yes. - Veena Wulfekuhle - CLA '95, Atlanta, Georgia

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My how time flies. The incredible education that I received at the U of M served me well in my career as a 'rocket scientist'. The most important lesson I learned was that I had the confidence that I had been given the skills to tackle any project. I volunteered and was volunteered for projects others deemed impossible. For me there was no such thing as impossible. Believing in your skills, believing it can be done is a huge part of getting the job done.
- Karl A. Pfitzer - CSE '61, '68, Fountain Valley, California

Set your goals HIGH - Have dreams - Keep learning each day - And remember, letting your thoughts STAND STILL will cause you to FALL BEHIND. Never say: " NEVER"!
- Larry Anderson D.V.M. - CVM '62, Ely, Minnesota

An old Chinese legend tells that when a son or a daughter leaves home, s/he receives two gifts: A piece of bread FROM which to live, and a flower FOR which to live. In your pursuit after the bread, please don't ever forget the flower.
- Uri Barnia - CLA '77, Billings, Montana

Stay connected with the U of M after graduation for both practical career information and knowledge about what the University is doing in your chosen field. They really are "Driven to Discover".
- Constance Benolkin - CEHD '73, Lenexa,Kansas

As in college or life, always be prepared to get your best marks.
- David Berkus - CLA '64, Los Angeles, California

Follow your dreams. Know yourself. Push through difficulties. Know your strengths, work on your weaknesses. NETWORK! NETWORK! NETWORK!
- D.Bonni Blarcom - CFANS '89, Silver Spring, Maryland

When you are looking for your first “real” job, keep your expectations realistic. The joy is in the journey.
- Jan Bobrowske - CLA '72, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Take care of your mental and physical health. Focus less on over applying yourself, and instead consider what you are truly interested in pursuing or trying out and focus on that to see where it takes you. If you strive to follow your passions and focus on developing skills that are attractive to you, your time will be fruitful. Remember you aren't there to come out perfect, but to become changed, enlightened, more fulfilled, smarter and stronger!
- Brit Brosdahl - CLA '17, Saint Paul, Minnesota

(a) Always speak the truth (b) get international experience in a developing country, © stay in your first job for at least 3 yrs., (d) never chase money, and (e) seek support from family & friends to do the aforementioned. All the best!
- Nadir Budhwani - CEHD ' 06, Ontario, Canada

Be optimistic, patient and don't give up when things don't go the way you planned.
- Larry Donovan - CFANS '72, South Cle Elum, Washington

Get a job in something you like to do or are really interested in because you are going to be doing it for a long time!
- Darrell Dostal - CFANS '71, Potosi, Missouri

Plan your career and make a sensible choice. Be flexible in your decisions.
- Ruben Figueroa - CSE '80, San Diego, California

Remember 3 words and incorporate their meanings in your career and life: risk, originality, and virtuosity.
- Robert Gale - PHAR '65, Placitas, New Mexico

Take pride in your school and be humble in all you do.
- Garry Gorsuch - CSE '62, Boulder, Colorado

The goal you pursue now may very well change over the years. Helping and encouraging people should be a lifelong commitment.
- Harwood Hegna - CSE '69, Beavercreek, Ohio

Follow diligently and with all your mind what will give you satisfaction from a job well done. Use your training and keep on educating yourself to advance your goal and to better humanity. Never give in to evil - if you give it a moment it will swallow your entire life!
- Danuta Hutchins (nee Zamojska) Ph.D. - CEHD '67, '87, Storm Lake, Iowa

Computer models, spreadsheets and programs are important tools for engineers of all types, but real-world experience, coupled with common sense, are equally valuable. Learn to trust your judgment and remember that you can't fool Mother Nature.
- Robert Isenberg - CSE '73, '77, Herndon, Virginia

Life can be complicated - keep it simple! You are what you think, and you think like those around you. Pick your associations carefully.
- Russell Johnson- CSOM '68, Norco, California

You will be tempted to compromise your ethics. Don’t. Let them guide you personally and professionally. That’s how you win the long game. - Linda Kennedy - CLA '96, LAW '98, West Hartford, Connecticut

Take the opportunity to study abroad in a foreign country. I studied abroad in Milan, Italy for a semester and it was life changing. Living, traveling and navigating on my own in Europe gave me the courage and confidence to do and try anything in life. It propelled the desire in me to move to a big, tough and diverse city like Manhattan after graduation --- I couldn't be happier!
- Brooke Keys - DES '10, New York City, New York

1. Preparation, Patience.... then Repeat 2. Surround yourself with good people 3. Give back to your community Based on: 17 years of higher education, 4 years of medical research, 33 years of being a health professional (and still practicing) & 25+ years of community service.
- Craig Kimura - CLA '71, Kamuela, Hawaii

Do it now while you are young, and if you are not young, just do it because it'll be better!
- Kara Lewis- NURS '98, '03, Saint Michael, Minnesota

Strive to know what the opposite of talking is!
- Morris Liberman - CLA '76, Saint Louis Park, Minnesota

Treat each patient as you would want your mother treated if she were the patient.
- Mary Loken- MED '86, Zumbrota, Minnesota

For the Accounting and Finance majors, set the Chief Financial Officer position as your goal. To achieve that, you will need a solid understanding of accounting systems and controls, often best acquired by public accounting experience. Then move on to learn trends in numbers and what they tell you about the business. At the end, you should be a teacher to allow others to see how you use numbers in business, to form common goals and how it made you successful.
- Steve McArthur - CSOM '67, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

When you have to make a choice, select the alternative that keeps as many options as possible open for your future.
- Gary Milavetz - PHAR '78, Iowa City, Iowa

Participate in your graduation ceremony. Put on the cap and gown! I did not and regret that decision still. College opens many doors and provides you with a great foundation. Continue being a lifelong learner every day.
- Kathleen Miller - CLA '77, Andover, Minnesota

Look for tasks, projects, and roles that other people don't recognize, don't like, or can't do. The work might be difficult, but the lack of competition removes one barrier to success.
- Dale Schreiner - CSE '71, Cincinnati, Ohio

Meet your potential adversary first on friendly term and start to build a relationship. It will help you better solve difficult problems together when you have a relationship.
- Pam Stegora Axberg - CSOM '89, New Brighton, Minnesota

Do not borrow money except for a house or business. Consumer credit is modern day slavery. Good deals do not come looking for you. Know the fair price of what you are buying or selling. Understand compound interest, diversification, and inflation. Unless you are an officer or owner in a business, you will not get rich working. Money is made investing in stocks, bonds, and real estate. Know your net worth. Establish a will and a trust.
- Donald Vierimaa - CSE '60, Alexandria, Virginia


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