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Read Highlights of Sergio Marchionne’s Indiana University Kokomo’s Commencement Speech

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Sergio Marchionne's Indiana University Kokomo's commencement speech

Sergio Marchionne’s Indiana University Kokomo’s commencement speech inspired 150+ graduating students today.

Today, Chrysler Group LLC Chairman and CEO, Sergio Marchionne, spoke at the Indiana University Kokomo spring commencement ceremony, held at Havens Auditorium. Chrysler has a strong presence in the Kokomo community, employing over 7,000 workers at various transmission plants throughout the area.

During the ceremony, Marchionne was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by the university’s president, Michael McRobbie.

Kokomo was devastated by two tornadoes in November of 2013; Marchionne made mention of the community’s strength during the tragedies in his speech to the 300 students, faculty, and family, more than 150 of which were graduating students. He also spoke about serving the community and making a difference, as well as contributing to something greater than oneself, a higher purpose.

Read Excerpts from Sergio Marchionne’s Indiana University Kokomo commencement speech below:

On the tornadoes

“The two tornadoes that struck this town last November damaged hundreds of homes and businesses in this city. But they could not destroy the resolute spirit of its residents, who have come together to rebuild the community with the goal of making it much better than it’s ever been. Over the course of time, everybody gains strength from the experience of overcoming adversity.”

On serving the community

“Your classes and your other experiences at IU Kokomo have provided you the tools to face up to the complexities of the world we live in. But the education you have earned doesn’t just serve you or your family. It also has the power to serve the community as a whole.

“The real question is, what do you want to be remembered for? Making a difference is the best answer I have ever heard. Your outlook on life completely changes if you point your efforts to this very simple objective. Making a difference to the organization you work for, to the community that you live in, to the families that sustain you and the ones you will support as you go through life. Doing things for no purpose is a denial of our humanity.

“We need no magic to change the world. We already have all the power we need. It’s inside us. It’s the power to imagine things in a better way. It is up to you to write the story of your life. Nothing is guaranteed, but the possibilities are indeed endless.”

On contributing to something greater than oneself

“If there is a piece of advice I can leave with you today: ask yourself, whatever you are pursuing, if there is a higher meaning in it, if you are contributing in any way to something that is much more than your personal interest. Ask yourself if you are really making a difference. And if the answer is yes, then it will be not just your family that will be thankful for your existence , but thousands of people whose lives you will have helped to turn into something better.”

His conclusion

“Every time you act with courage, every time you act with generosity and with concern for the generations to follow, you send out a ripple of hopefulness.

“My wish for you is that you find your passion, that you pursue your dream and that you make that difference.”