Elon’s 2015 Interactive Media master’s class encouraged to ‘make things happen’

Craig Waller, president of the Greensboro, North Carolina-based marketing content company PACE, shared the advice with members of the Master of Interactive Media Class of 2015 during a May 21 graduation ceremony.

After completing Elon’s 10-month master’s program in interactive media and familiarizing himself with today’s digital landscape, Gary Barber has finally found a new career: visual designer.

But beyond the skills he learned as part of the program, the former graphic designer and minister has also cultivated his strengths as a leader and collaborator. “It did more than educate me,” he says of the program. “It inspired me; it let me see what can be done.”

It’s a sentiment shared by the 30 other members of the Master of Interactive Media Class of 2015, who received their degrees May 21 during a ceremony in Whitley Auditorium, and one that their speaker reiterated as part of his speech.

“The workplace, like life, is divided between those who show up and those who actually make things happen,” said Craig Waller, president of the Greensboro, North Carolina-based marketing content company PACE and parent of a 2014 interactive media program alumna. “I exhort you to go out there and make things happen.”

View a photo gallery of the Commencement activites.

In BuzzFeed listicle style, that way of structuring a short article using lists, Waller shared five things for the graduates to do now that they have obtained their degrees:

No. 1: Celebrate the moment. As humans we are tempted to set goals and move on to the next one as soon as we reach the first one. Fight that temptation and enjoy the moment, he said.

No. 2: Thank those who have supported you. No doubt the graduates worked hard to complete the intensive program, he said, but they couldn’t have done it without the support of their professors, loved ones and friends. “Take the time to thank them.”

No. 3: Pause and reflect. “You are going to be a long time working,” Waller said. “As well as what you’ve learned and all this knowledge and this intellectual capsule that you have, think about what you’ve learned about yourself.” Try to see yourself as others see you because that self-knowledge is very important.

No. 4: Get a tattoo. Well, not really. The point is to do something different, he said. “The world that you are going into, and the workplace that you are going into, is much less hierarchical than it’s ever been before,” Waller said. “Let’s encourage ourselves to think differently and think entrepreneurially.”

No. 5: Find a job, if you can, that suits you. “You’ve spent 10 months focusing on getting things done and you’ve also learned something about your working self,” he said. Take all that into consideration and find a work environment that allows you to thrive. In the words of Princess Diana, he said, “They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and a little bit moody? That’s the thing to look for.”

Besides Waller, the graduate candidates also heard from classmate Henry Kean, who shared his own list of sorts and reminded the group of all the things they accomplished together. Collaboratively, they wrote an estimated 810 pages of research and more than 1,800 lines of code, and created six professional mixed-multimedia videos as part of their fly-in experience that took them 26,486 miles round trip.

“Now we sit here, 732 gallons of coffee later, as one graduating class that I’m confident can change the world,” Kean said. “As the ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’ says, ‘I can do anything for 10 seconds.’ Well, we can do anything for 10 months, and it’s with that mentality that we’ll be able to accomplish anything that we put our minds to.”

In his charge to the class, President Leo M. Lambert encouraged them to use their new-acquired skills to make the world and Elon a better place. “Your life, your strength and your light can and should make a difference in helping the many who are far less privileged than you are,” he said. “This is my charge to you: to illuminate, to remain open to the idea of new beginnings and to be strong. Long Live Elon.”

The Master of Interactive Media Class of 2015

  • Martina Yvette Allen
  • Tyler Andrew Ballentine
  • Gary Oliver Barber
  • Drayton Schindel Beebe
  • Brandon Revelle Booker
  • Lauren Rebecca Bourne
  • Jonathon R. Bucec
  • Kendal Alicia Cinnamon
  • Nia Marie Duke
  • Matthew E. Eastman
  • Brandon K. Frye
  • Emily Michelle Gonko
  • Sam Womble Kahle
  • Henry Livingston Kean
  • Anna Kim
  • Monique LaShay Lewis
  • Tiffany N. Mackins
  • Paula S. MacLeod
  • Nicholas John Margherita
  • Megan McGowan
  • Caroline Logan McSwain
  • Ashley Elaine Pugh
  • Kimberly Katherine Robertson
  • Theodore W. Russell
  • Ryan Sampson
  • Brandon Keith Thigpen
  • Jennifer R. Thompson
  • Kimanh Maria Tran
  • Brittany Nicole Washington
  • Elizabeth Leigh Williams
  • Emily Layne Yarborough

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