2016 CALS Spring Convocation

The 2016 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Spring Convocation took place Saturday, May 7.

The student address was offered by Drew Mogler (ag business). Mogler received the CALS Council senior Leadership Excellence Award and will join the staff of the Iowa Pork Producers Association as the director of producer education.

Watch the CALS Convocation (Mogler's remarks begin at 14:00).

Read the future plans and CALS involvement of the 2016 spring CALS graduates.

2016 CALS Convocation Student Address:

by Drew Mogler ('16 agricultural business)

Thank you Dean Wintersteen. Graduates, faculty, administrators, family, friends, and guests, it is truly humbling to have the opportunity to reflect on our time at Iowa State before we walk across this stage and into the next chapter of our lives.

Today marks last day you can eat an entire tub of ice cream and a jar of peanut butter and consider it a coping strategy. Tomorrow it’s known as gluttony . . . and you have a problem. However, this morning I would like to take some time for reflection, as well as look ahead to the opportunities and challenges that await us.

We can all think back to that first week of school. The anticipation of meeting new friends, hoping you didn’t walk into the wrong class, and then when you realized you weren’t in Animal Science 114, you sat through the introduction of that Comparative Literature class because you were too embarrassed to walk out in the middle of it. Not to mention sitting in these very seats stumbling through the fight song as we tried to memorize the words.

The Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences doesn’t find itself ranked in the Top 10 Ag programs in the world without exceptional leadership. Perhaps one of the biggest takeaways from my time here is that our professors are real people, too. Sitting in Econ 101 as a freshman taking my first economics class ever, I was overwhelmed. It wasn’t until “diminishing marginal utility” was explained to me in terms of cheeseburgers that I realized our professors knew how to connect to students. Unorthodox as that may be, it worked! I may be the first college student ever to publicly proclaim that I love studying economics!

It was also clear that the faculty wanted to strengthen that connection beyond the classroom. Remember the first thing our advisors and professors relentlessly pounded into our heads? Get involved! Here is some advice that resonated with me: “Don’t let classes get in the way or your education.” They wanted to see us grow and develop as young professionals and future leaders.

Boy, did we listen to their advice. We now boast the nation’s only student-powered bacon festival. We have nationally recognized clubs. Many of us zig-zagged across the country competing in judging and quiz bowl contests. This past fall, we packaged over 100,000 meals for the hungry during CALS Week. A few weeks ago we opened our doors for Animal Learning Day to engage the public on why livestock producers do what they do on their farms. Please join me in thanking our outstanding faculty, staff, and administrators for their hard work and dedication to student success.

Mark Twain said: “When I was fourteen, my parents were so ignorant I could hardly stand them. By the time I was 21, I was astonished at how much they had learned!” For me, this is exactly what happened to my parents while I was in college. Our families are everything to us. We could not have done this without you! Thank you for believing in us, and helping us stand up when we stumbled. Graduates, please join me in thanking our parents, siblings, grandparents and other relatives for their undying love and support.

Undoubtedly this has been an exciting four years. We noticed change within ourselves as we gained more confidence in our dreams and passions. We discovered new ideas and tools. These changes made us better, they built us into who we are today. If we continue to embrace change, we will guarantee what we have grown here will change the world.

We have all heard projections of the challenges that come with a growing world population. We need to view this not as a challenge, but as an opportunity — an opportunity to create new ideas and technology. An opportunity to work as an agronomist, animal scientist, banker, geneticist, policy maker or farmer in this country or abroad. As part of the millennial generation, we are the most connected generation of all time. We are able to tap into the ideas and resources of our peers here and around the globe. In today’s world of texting, tweeting, snapping and selfies it is important to discern the difference between this constant movement and progress.

Four years ago we set out on new adventures. Tomorrow, that adventure continues. We cannot afford to stop and rest on our laurels, the world is ready for young, bright, agile minds to rise to the occasion of securing food for a hungry planet. We can make it our defining moment. We will be tested. If the past few years has taught us anything, it is that we will be resilient.

I couldn’t think of a more fitting thought to leave you with than what E.M. Tiffany penned for the final paragraph of the FFA creed, which sets the stage for what we can look forward to as we move on in our lives. “I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”

Congratulations Class of 2016! The world awaits our contribution to that inspiring task!