When everything has been done in college and students move on to their own professional lives, Douglas Thomas said there’s only one thing that makes a big difference: Integrity. “I applaud everybody who is here because of hard work,” Thomas, the university’s Benjamin S. Quales Endowed Professor of History, told a Grambling State University honors convocation audience, “but some of you are here because you cheated.” He said those who cheated know who they are, and they should not feel honored at all because people who have “true honor live by integrity.”
During the annual late-morning event, scores of students were honored for having strong academic records, earning internships and special opportunities and recognition. The event also recognized some faculty and staff that had gone above and beyond normal duties.
Thomas said there are three key points needed to be successful with integrity: (1) know who God is, (2) know who you are and (3) know where you are.
“The administration and staff are here to prepare students for the real world and life after college,” said Thomas. “Some students do complain about smaller things around campus such as cafeteria food, but honestly, in order to have integrity, you don’t have to make an agreement or answer to anybody but yourself.”
The likeable professor reminded students that they have a great opportunity, not too far away from otherwise difficult lives. “Grambling State University is a beautiful place to be, it is an honor to be in the classroom,” he said. “Some years ago many were somewhere in the kitchen scrubbing somebody’s floor.”
Thomas went on to acknowledge that many in the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center are more than students, including some who are parents and some who are employees. He said he knows it is hard, but those who are driven and motivated honestly will be the most successful – and those who cheated will be found out later.
Thomas said to know who you are, “you have to know what you have been through and know where you want to be.” Do your best and do what it takes, he told them, working as hard as possible to achieve specific goals, never give up and “rewards will come.”
Many believe integrity just means honesty, but it means having all pieces fit together as one in the right place. If they don’t fit, you will be being dishonest, and not have a real chance and the real feeling of feeling accomplished and hearing someone tell you well done.
Emotions, body, and soul; in order for all these things to fit right you have to know God. I often times refer to Genesis 2:7 God molded man and breathe the breath into his nostrils and man became a living soul.
“If you don’t have some integrity, my advice to you is to go find some,” said Thomas.
GSU President Frank G. Pogue told the students that it takes five things to be a successful honor student and a great professor — setting goals, displaying and having a positive attitude, dedication and commitment, hard work and achieving goals.
“You are an example of what academic excellence is, and I want to congratulate, celebrate, recognize, and honor all of you for achieving an exemplary accomplishment,” said the president.