Eight Lessons To Live By | Webster University

Chancellor's Reflections: Eight Lessons to Live By

May 18, 2020

On May 9th, Webster’s 101st Commencement ceremonies were, for the first time ever, held virtually. As we embarked on the planning process to celebrate the Class of 2020, we pursued options that mirrored our growing understanding of the world around us and Webster’s place in it. We saw Commencement with new eyes and new possibilities.

It is remarkable and somehow prescient that we had invited Dr. Vladimir Ivkovic, one of two honorary degree recipients, to provide the address to graduates. A translational neuroscientist and integrative physiologist with emphases in neuromodulation, extreme/spaceflight physiology and neuroimaging, he graduated from Webster University, Vienna, in 1999, and later earned two master’s degrees and his PhD. He is now in his fourth year of postdoctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

As an alumnus who embodies our interconnectedness as a university community, Dr. Ivkovic shared eight lessons from his life and career. The abbreviated version of his powerful lessons are below. His speech inspires as he eloquently reflects on this moment’s meaning and promise. Watch the entire speech online, Dr. Ivkovic’s 2020 Commencement Address.

Lesson one: Remember the privilege of having received any education, especially a Webster education. Through experience, the clarity of our life's path is much better retrospectively than prospectively.

Lesson two: Be mindful of the moments. They define our lives and are just as fleeting.

Lesson three: Follow your dreams and savor the adventure of taking the path less traveled. In so doing, you will remain motivated to push yourself to be the best you can be.

Lesson four: Share your privilege through service to others. We are all responsible to help make the world a better place, no exceptions.

Lesson five: Keeping your eyes on the ever-fleeting horizon, always remember to remain anchored to those you love the most.

Lesson six: Protect and preserve the earth; there is no Planet B; not anytime soon.

Lesson seven: Support science and exploration. They define our species. It was through exploration of space that we started to grasp the limits of our species’ significance on this planet.

Lesson eight: Continue wandering. Continue exploring. Continue dreaming.

May the joy of this year’s ceremony and the noteworthy accomplishments of Webster’s graduates spur all of us to wander, explore, and dream.


Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble, PhD 

Three ways to give