YOUNGSTOWN -- About 390 students graduated from Youngstown State University on a comfortable August morning in the Beeghly Center on Saturday.
Commencement speaker Bill Knecht, chairman and chief executive officer of Wendell August Forge, a Grove City, Pa., giftware and award company, had the same message for all of them: "There are thousands of people with your same degree, and many people will be doing what you want to do. You will walk out of here this afternoon with only one thing that no one else has. You are the only person alive who has control of the destiny in your life."
Knecht gave about 90 master's and 300 bachelor's degree graduates tips on how to manage a career in this era.
He likened life to forks in the road and twice quoted baseball player and manager Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra.
"When you come to a fork in the road, take it," said Knecht. He also said, "If you don't know where you're going, you will wind up someplace else."
Knecht followed this up by advising graduates to be patient but not wait for opportunity to find them.
"Remain true to your values and beliefs," he said. "Don't even think about compromising your values. You are the person you must see every day when you look in the mirror."
Skipping the ceremony: Being that it was a summer graduation, some graduates chose to skip the ceremony.
Tammy Reeher of Hermitage, Pa. received her master's degree in English but didn't attend the ceremony. She had a bridal shower to attend instead.
"I think it's more important getting the knowledge than it is getting a piece of paper," she said.

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