Ask the Dean: What advice do you have for students about to graduate?


Dr. Southerland

Dr. Southerland serves as Michigan Tech’s Dean of Students and Vice President for Student Affairs.

Ask the Dean is a weekly column by MTU’s Dean of Students, Dr. Wallace Southerland III, where students can submit questions for him to answer. To submit a question, email [email protected] or fill out our Google Form.


Question: What advice do you have for students about to graduate?


Dear Submitter,


First, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the graduates. I wish them well and hope they are confident that Michigan Tech has prepared them for what’s to come. I want them to go out into the world and create positive social change wherever they are. I want them to be the most exceptional and confident employees. I want them to be responsible citizens and kind to others. I pray that the graduates will be great and grateful, resilient and resourceful, competent and compassionate, ethical and just, and formidable.


My advice:


  •       Don’t be so serious. Laugh. Have fun.
  •       Trust yourself and take a leap of faith sometimes.
  •       Enter and exit your new workplace or graduate school with grace and humility.
  •       Learn to listen more than you talk. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason.
  •       Solve conflict by “seeking first to understand then to be understood.”
  •       Take responsibility for your actions.
  •       Don’t be afraid of accountability.
  •       Don’t rely on others to motivate you. You must be self-motivated to achieve your goals.
  •       Be responsible for your own morale.
  •       Husky UP – get it done!


Your Dean of Huskies,

Dr. S.