ALBANY, Ga. -- Now serving as the Marine Corps Staff director in Washington, D.C., the former commanding general of Marine Corps Logistics Command advised the students of Albany Technical College to not use failures as an opportunity to give up.
Lt. Gen. Willie Williams, while using his own experience in the Corps as an example, gave this message at the institution's 50th anniversary convocation at the Albany Civic Center on Friday.
"This school and its opportunities provided right now offer chances for success," Williams said. "Albany Technical College defines its success through its students and through its alumni. The success it enjoys is truly a testament to its past.
"In life, we never just stand still. As Marines, when we reach a point of failure we pull back (and re-assess). You might think that is the way we are, but me, I'm not one to accept failure."
Williams also highlighted the concept of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
"The key word there is 'pursuit,'" the lieutenant general said. "We are not guaranteed happiness, but we are guaranteed the right to pursue it.
"We need committed institutions and committed leaders to take away excuses for failure. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of this institution, we need to look toward the future."
While concluding his remarks, Williams gave some final words of wisdom to the students listening in.
"There will always be decisions in life, but what you are getting now will help you make those decisions," he said. "With decisions come consequences. Don't be afraid to accept those consequences.
"My advice is to go out there and attack. I wish you all continued success."
Albany Tech President Anthony Parker took the stage in the early minutes and during the closing of the convocation to share a few thoughts.
"All of us today can reap the benefits of (the establishment) of this fine institution," he said. "Progress is not measured in the number of facilities, but by the lives touched (by Albany Tech).
"I come to work every day (and interact) with people with a passion. I have the best students, faculty and staff -- so I'm looking forward to the next 50 years."
Also making an appearance at the event Friday was Josephine Reed-Taylor, deputy commissioner for the Technical College System of Georgia -- who spoke of Albany Tech's overall purpose.
"Albany Technical College (is in existence) to provide education and support to meet the needs of Albany," Reed-Taylor said. "Those needs are still growing. The programs of ATC are not of your mother's or grandmother's technical institution.
"Today, Albany Tech responds to meet today's needs. The future of the Southwest Georgia community, the state of Georgia and the nation depends on us having a well-educated work force. Albany Technical College have proven that it is a college that works."
As part of the school's 50th anniversary celebration, the next scheduled event for Albany Tech will be a tree planting for Arbor Day -- which will be on March 3.