Brenda Boyd is all smiles as she gets her graduation sash adjusted by Margie Roberts, at the commencement ceremony for Governors State University, on 5/17/14. They are receiving masters degrees at Tinley Park Convention Center. | John Booz/ for the Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 23, 2014 12:59PM
An award-winning author and Chicago attorney told graduates of Governors State University to “remember who you are today” during Saturday’s morning commencement ceremony.
Scott Turow, a former federal prosecutors who now is in private practice at a Chicago firm, received an honorary degree during the university’s first of two graduation ceremonies at the Tinley Park Convention Center.
In his speech, Turow told students that, when they are reflecting on their lives later on, they will measure their success by whether they lived up to the standards they set for themselves now and not by how much material success they achieved.
“Remember what matters to you today,” Turow said. “Values do matter.”
Turow called public education a “national treasure” for the country and a foundation to democracy.
He is best known for his nine best-selling works of fiction, including “Presumed Innocent” and “Identical.” After serving as a federal prosecutor, Turow now works as a criminal defense attorney at the Chicago office of Dentons.
More than 530 students attended the morning graduation ceremony for the colleges of Arts and Science and Business and Public Administration. Another 570 were expected to graduate during the evening ceremony for colleges of Education and Health and Human Services.
Kayla Randolph-Clark, a bachelor’s degree recipient in business administration, spoke to the gathered graduates about the important part that relationships with her family, friends and colleagues played in her education and will help in her future career.
“One thing is sure,” Randolph-Clark said. “It’s not likely you’ll go far without making connection.”
Randolph-Clark, 29, is a former college dropout whose next big step is law school.
“That shows what connecting with the right people can do,” she said.
University president Elaine Maimon also called on graduates to recognize those who helped them get to graduation day.
Maimon encouraged students to become involved in their community and to work for the public good.
“Graduates, it’s your turn now to help others,” she said.
Jazz musician and composer Orbert Davis was scheduled to receive an honorary degree at the evening ceremony.
Davis is an award-winning trumpeter and composer who has won awards for his compositions, including an Emmy Award for the PBS documentary “DuSable to Obama: Chicago’s Black Metropolis.” He also consulted for the film “Road to Perdition.”