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Have "No Regrets" Duke Energy's Rogers Tells JCSU Grads May 9, 2012

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The following are excerpts from Duke Energy Chairman, President and CEO Jim Rogers’ speech to graduates at Johnson C. Smith University’s Commencement exercises May 6.

“Graduates of 2012 – Are you ready for the final lecture of your undergraduate career?

“I promise that today’s class will only take about 14 minutes – and each of you has the power to determine the outcome.

“I will start with a story about a good friend of mine whom I know very well.

“Over 40 years ago, he was in your seat – just minutes away from graduating. Like many of you, he paid his own way, going to school during the day and working a full-time job at night as a newspaper reporter – earning about 80 bucks a week.

“By the time he graduated, he was married with two children.

“He then went on to law school. And after just one semester, he ran out of money, and had to drop out. He was determined to return, but first, he worked as a salesman for over a year. And then he went back to law school, taking classes while working two jobs.

“By the time he received his law degree, he was 26 years old.

“It was clear, that at every milestone, he was at a new starting point.

“Who is my friend – my friend is me.

“I try to live my life with no regrets. I can’t have regrets – because there’s nothing I can do to change the past. But there is one thing that I can control – and that is my future.

“I made choices. Some were good. Some were bad. Unfortunately, there are no do-overs in life.

“Living your life with purpose and passion is important. What you do is important, but how you do it is maybe more important, especially in terms of your relationships with other people.

“Life is filled with curveballs, bumps in the road, surprises and roadblocks. Who you will become will be determined by how you handle what is coming at you.

“Let me briefly share with you the story of Michael Jordan.

“Charlotte’s very own didn’t let any failures stop him from playing basketball.

“He’s even said: ‘I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.

“‘I’ve lost almost 300 games.

“‘On 26 occasions, I’ve been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed.

“‘I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’

“We learn from our past. We grow from our past. We make healthier decisions based on our past. So there’s absolutely no reason to regret anything.

“Do what is meaningful to your life and the ones around you right now. Impact their lives for the better.

“Remember how earlier I spoke about this being a pass-fail lecture – and that you will determine the outcome? Well, that’s your assignment. It’s not homework – it’s life-work.

“In the future, instead of dwelling on the ‘what ifs,’ think about the lessons you can apply to the future. Think about how your past experiences are going to make you a better person. If you do this, you will pass this class – and succeed in life.”

To read Rogers’ speech in its entirety, go to:

Contact: Tom Williams
24-Hour Phone: 800-559-3853

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