Pereyo Tells Spring Graduates To Make God Their Priority
Tigerville, SC (May 6, 2019) North Greenville University (NGU) celebrated spring commencement on a hot, humid morning on Saturday, May 4 in Melvin and Dollie Younts Stadium on the Tigerville Campus. Mike Pereyo, founder and CEO of OOBE, an apparel design company headquartered in Greenville, addressed the over 200 undergraduates, graduates, and doctoral candidates before 5,000 family and friends in attendance.
Following the processional of the administration, faculty, and candidates, NGU President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. read Psalm 34:4-9, and welcomed all honored guests.
Chaplain Major J. Scott Squires, lead pastor for the JFK Memorial Chapel in Fort Bragg, NC, led the invocation. An Old Testament reading was offered by the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Business Dr. Tracy Kramer, Dr. Rick Sparks, a professor in the College of Communication, read New Testament passages, and the North Greenville Singers provided music.
Pereyo told the graduates, “[I am] so stoked to be here, but I feel like I’ve let y’all down. I’m in the apparel business, and I didn’t make you a breathable gown. Moisture-wicking. Why didn’t we think about that? My apology. That’s on me.”
He shared with the graduates a guiding principle in his life that he wishes someone had shared with him when he graduated from college. He expressed five things with the theme of priority. “What you prioritize will determine how you will use your time, talent, and resources from this point forward,” he said.
First, sewing and reaping are two separate events. They do not happen simultaneously. “Have a willingness to wait in God’s waiting room,” he said. Second, busyness will destroy intimacy in all your relationships. Pereyo said busyness kept him from making the most important things in his life a priority. Third, focus on the unique roles that you can not be replaced in. Pereyo said he could be replaced at OOBE, but he can not be replaced as a husband and father to his three children. He told the graduates that they, too, have unique roles as a son, daughter, future husband, and future wife. He asked the graduates to stand and turn around and face the audience to thank, with applause, “the people who love you and who gave you these unique roles.” Fourth, focus on things that don’t burn. Have a heart of wisdom, not a heart for things that burn. And his last priority, which he said is the most important, is to make God your first priority. “Allow Him to be your compass.”
Following Pereyo’s address, President Fant and Provost Finn awarded two honorary doctorate degrees. The university honored two women that have “shared influence in our region and across the nation for their advocacy work for the most fragile of our kind, unborn children,” said Fant.
Alexia Newman, who celebrated her 30th year as head of the Carolina Pregnancy Center in Spartanburg County, was honored with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Lenna Smith, who recently retired as CEO from Piedmont Women’s Center in Greenville, was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree.
Before the graduates received their diplomas, a moment of silence was held in memory of Austin Buice who was to be a member of the Class of 2019. Buice, a secondary education major, was tragically killed in a car accident in Greenville County on November 20, 2018. A chair draped with a graduation gown, mortarboard, and a bouquet of red roses was placed with the graduating class to honor Buice.