Clearly there are no words of consolation that I can offer you, the graduating class of 2020. I do not think anyone could foresee a global pandemic that could drag on for months, with no real end in sight. My heart goes out to you seniors who will not have a spring sports season, a prom, nor hear “Pomp and Circumstance” as you walk across the stage with your fellow seniors at your graduation ceremony.

My daughter was to graduate from college in May and was heartbroken when she was informed during spring break that her final semester of college was cancelled. I have watched her go through a period of real grief, but now she seems to have moved to a stage I would call “acceptance.” She realizes that she now needs to move on to the next season of her life, and she is doing it courageously.

You too will now be moving on to the next chapter of your life. I have two books that will be helpful on your journey.

The first is my newest book, (ITALIC)Reflections on the Existence of God. It contains 57 short essays divided into ten sections. It is easy to read and understand. The book serves a number of purposes, including strengthening the faith of Christians as well as equipping students to go out and engage the skeptical culture we live in.

Pew Research did a study that sought to answer the question, “Why do some students abandon the church and their faith after graduating from high school?” One of the reasons they discovered was that students often had questions and doubts that no one ever addressed. This book answers those questions.

The second book, (ITALIC)A Life of Excellence: Graduation Editionis a book on living wisely and effectively. Deep down, we all know that a life of excellence is achievable, yet we often lack the will and discipline to follow through on what we know to be true. This book lays out three of the most important principles in life. These principles are not good nor bad, moral or immoral, they are simply true. When we live our lives in harmony with these principles we flourish.

My prayer for you, the graduating class of 2020 is that you would realize that if you want to have an exceptional life, a life of excellence, and truly reach the potential God has endowed you with; you must walk down certain paths that most people are not willing to walk. But when you do, it will make all the difference in the quality of your life and the legacy you leave behind.

  • Richard E. Simmons III

Center for Executive Leadership, Founding Director


Special thanks to Simmons and the Center for Executive Leadership for providing a copy of (ITALIC)A Life of Excellence: Graduation Edition to each of our top ten 2020 Scholarship Finalists.

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