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“Pursue Your Beautiful Dreams”

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The first Arkansas Governor's School conducted at Arkansas Tech University ended on Saturday, Aug. 3, with a closing convocation at ATU's John E. Tucker Coliseum.

Almost 400 gifted and talented rising high school seniors from every region of Arkansas concluded their four-week course of study by hearing a message about leadership from Dr. Robin E. Bowen, ATU president.

"One of the goals of AGS is that we will produce individuals with the knowledge and leadership skills necessary to take on the difficult challenges facing our society," said Bowen. "Be bold. Your presence here is proof that you are an individual of great potential. Blaze new trails so that others might follow and perform the difficult, but rewarding task of creating change."

Bowen spoke to the students about the concept of self-leadership as a foundation for achievement.

"True leadership must be from the inside out," said Bowen. "By becoming more aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can develop greater self-confidence and a sense that you can persevere through any challenge. It is through this process that you prepare yourself to lead others. Ensure that integrity remains a habit in your life. Self-discipline yields consistency. Consistency yields reliability. Reliability builds great teams. Great teams achieve success."

The connection between success and grit was another central theme of the speech.

"The leader is the one who is willing to question the status quo…try something new…fail…try again…fail once more…and continue trying until the goal is achieved," said Bowen. "Innovation is correlated with grit much more so than intellect. Each of you have grit. Apply it to your studies. Apply it to the obstacles in your day-to-day life. Tenacity is the water than extinguishes adversity. Do not fear the fire. Extinguish it. Grit can make us brave…it can give us the courage to get out of our comfort zone."

The remarks were framed by quotes from noted writers and leaders, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Ann Richards, Mark Twain and Eleanor Roosevelt.

"I hope that AGS has proven to you the value of exploring, dreaming and discovering. Life is not meant to be lived from the sidelines. Get in the game. Find your passion. Make memories. Make a difference. Thank you for being part of the first Arkansas Governor’s School at Arkansas Tech University. Now, go forth, and pursue your beautiful dreams."

This year marked the 40th Arkansas Governor's School. The event is scheduled to return to ATU in 2020 and 2021.

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