Auburn University alumnus shares message of hard work at summer graduation

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There is absolutely no substitute for hard work.

That’s the reminder Auburn University’s summer 2018 graduates were given from Tim Vines, a 1988 Auburn alumnus and president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama. Auburn awarded more than 1,200 degrees at its commencement ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 4.

“There are no short cuts to success,” said Vines. “Success requires hard work. It requires perseverance. It requires dedication. It requires commitment. Learning is a journey and not a destination. This is just the beginning of your learning.”

Vines, a native of Lafayette, Alabama, grew up with his mother setting an example of hard work. She worked hard jobs and long hours to give her eight children every opportunity to succeed.

He charged the graduates with remembering those who helped them along the way, recalling a local minister who helped him and others have the ability to play baseball in their hometown.

“Don’t take for granted those who have helped you,” Vines said.

Vines encouraged the graduates to be a blessing to others just as others have been to them and to cultivate in themselves a servant’s heart.

“Serve others, serve well,” he said. “In life or in your chosen profession, ask what you can do to help others.”

As Auburn’s newest alumni go out into their respective fields, Vines stressed the importance of honesty and integrity.

“Whatever you do, make sure you do it with excellence,” he said. “Represent Auburn University, in your careers, with excellence. Don’t ever compromise your values.”

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Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.