July 23, 2022

Ball State University honored more than 1,200 graduates on Saturday at its Summer Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2022.

The program was held at Worthen Arena on Ball State’s beautiful campus.

As part of a time-honored tradition, Ball State selected an outstanding faculty member to address its Summer graduates. On Saturday, Dr. W. Holmes Finch Jr., George and Frances Ball Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology at Ball State’s Teachers College, delivered his speech, “The Joys of Serendipity, or Wait, How Did That Happen?”

Dr. Finch, who has taught and conducted research at Ball State since 2003, has been significantly active in helping master’s and doctoral students complete their theses and dissertations, and has served on about 400 thesis and dissertation committees over the past 17 years.

Dr. Finch told the graduates in attendance on Saturday to try to appreciate the “pleasures of the unexpected.” During his senior year as an undergraduate college student, he said he needed an elective class to fill his schedule. He signed up for a statistics class, acknowledging he wasn’t a “math person” and knowing it didn’t fit his major, yet as soon as he started the course, it was “love at first sight.”

“I ended up enjoying that class so much that I completely overhauled what I had in mind for the future,” Dr. Finch said. “I changed my grad school plans, applied for a program in educational statistics, and the rest is history. My almost accidental registration for that class led to me finding a career that I didn’t even really know existed, and has brought me many years of fun and fulfillment.”

Dr. Finch told graduates: “you’ll have your own unexpected statistics class.”

“You’ll realize that actually do like something that you never knew about or never even considered,” he continued. “And you’ll find that the things that you planned for yourself don’t always work out. But that’s OK—and sometimes, that’s even good.”

Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns commended Dr. Finch for his leadership in the classroom, his excellence in research, and his enduring impact on the University’s students and his profession.

President Mearns then delivered his own words of advice to the Summer graduates, encouraging them to pursue fulfillment over success, and a life of meaning.

“Life is a gift—life is a precious gift. And to lead a meaningful life, you must share that gift with people who need you. And to lead a meaningful life, I believe you must also embody certain core values, such as the enduring values that are articulated in our Beneficence Pledge,” President Mearns said. “Be sincere—be sincere and speak the truth. Model integrity, and value integrity in others. Be grateful—be grateful and demonstrate your gratitude through your actions. Through your character, through your commitment, please help us create a world that will be more peaceful and more just. We believe in that brighter future because we believe in all of you. Graduates, good luck, and Godspeed.”