Bethel University Holds Fall 2012 Commencement


Dan Cathy, President and COO of Chick-fil-A, presented each Bethel graduate with a relay baton to remind them to take the baton and carry it with grace, dignity and care.



Four hundred forty individuals earned degrees on Saturday, Dec, 8, during Bethel University’s Fall 2012 Commencement. The ceremony was held in the Rosemary and Harry Crisp II Arena in the Vera Low Center for Student Enrichment on the school’s McKenzie campus.

     Dan Cathy, President and Chief Operating Officer of Chick-fil-A, was the commencement speaker. Cathy has served as President and COO of the 1608-plus Atlanta-based restaurant chain since 2001.

     During his speech, Cathy pointed out that his company places much focus on teaching the skills of showing honor, dignity and respect toward others.

     “Restaurant – one of its meanings is a place for restoration,” Cathy said. “We consider this not just restoration of our stomachs, but it’s about restoration of our hearts and souls.”

     Cathy went on to say that there is much demand for the graduates to take us into the future, and he offered three points to the graduates.

     “I command you to have a smart phone,” he said. “Looking at these reminds us of how much things are changing. Just as you upgrade your phones and embrace new technology, upgrade your minds too.

     “Also, have joy and meaning in your work,” he said. “The most important truths in life have never changed. Stay true to those things and be zealous about what you do.

     “Finally,” he said. “Today, I am going to be handing you a baton. Success is all about succession. My hope is that you will carry on such truths and ideals and carry them with pride and care to preserve them for future generations.

     “The handoff makes all the difference in an actual relay. You have to be in sync with those who are passing the baton to you, and you have to actually take the baton from the other’s hand.”

     Cathy demonstrated what happened when the baton is dropped.

     “If you worked, sweated and trained for years, and during the critical moments you hear the sound of the baton dropping a part of you would die inside,” he said.

     “Please,” he said. “For the sake of the next generation, don’t drop the baton. Carry it with grace, dignity and care.”

     As a reminder of his words, Cathy handed each graduate a relay baton during the ceremony.

     During his visit, Cathy also visited with Chick-fil-A employees at the Bethel University Chick-fil-A.