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President McNeal’s Farewell Address

By Zekariah McNeal

I love Oklahoma Christian University. When I first became a student at this university, I didn’t realize the great experiences that I would have or how much I would develop as a person.

When students put their minds together to tackle a problem, they can overcome any obstacle that faces them. We are a generation that has so much potential. We don’t have extensive responsibility; we’re surrounded by extremely educated professors; we have open minds to learn and are in an open-minded community.

The situation that we’re in is one of unshackled opportunity, and if we were to take full advantage of it, we the students of Oklahoma Christian University would be known as world-changers. We would be known as dreamers and creators.

To become this, we have to take advantage of our situation.

We have to ask the hard questions.

We have to seek deeper understandings of the issues that our culture faces.

We have to dive into experiences that will challenge our worldview and cause us to reevaluate the reasons that we do what we do.

We have to meet and find value in people that think differently than us. Then, we have to grab the hand of people that think the same as us and pull them into the conversation.

We need to look beyond our own context, beyond the things that make us comfortable, and we need to start taking notes. There is so much to learn, and once we learn, we can go do.

The skills that we gain here at Oklahoma Christian have the capacity to propel us along a course in this world on which we can bring light to wherever we go. Engineers, nurses, entrepreneurs, writers, readers and teachers: every single ounce of knowledge that we gain can be used to help someone else. We just need to sustain an attitude and desire to use it.

But, this is not a situation in which we are only given the opportunity to help others after we graduate. We can and should be using those skills today.

Do not take this experience for granted. It will blow by and you won’t know what happened or why you spent your time the way that you did. Learn here and, as you learn, do something with that knowledge. Serve your fellow students and serve the outsider.

I’m taking away two life mottos from my student presidency at Oklahoma Christian.

First, everybody matters. Everyone has value. If you don’t treat them like that, you are lying to yourself and to them. Treat people like they matter, because they do, and you will make the people around you all the better if you realize that.

Second, make the most of every opportunity. Opportunities arise in life every single day. Some people ignore them, while some people take them, but don’t have a good attitude. The people who take them with positivity and joy change the world. These are the people that I want Oklahoma Christian students to be and who I want to be.

Thank you for allowing me to learn and to do alongside you for the past few years and as your student body president the past two years. It’s been incredible, and you’ve taught me so much. I pray that I can hold onto the things I’ve learned here forever, and I pray that the student body at OC will continue to grow, learn and do even more in the years to come.


Zekariah McNeal is a senior at Oklahoma Christian University and president of the Student Government Association.

The opinions of guest columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Talon or Oklahoma Christian University. Guest opinions are presented to foster public debate on important topics and comments should be respectful and signed.

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