Family and friends of the William Penn University class of 2010 really packed into the PAC Saturday afternoon.
After the graduates and their loved ones were seated on the main floor of the Penn Activities Center (PAC), many more onlookers took seating on the facility's second floor.
Once they settled in, commencement speaker Dr. David Cozart provided a message of hope and positivity to the graduates.
"If you believe in yourself, all things are possible," said the 1969 Penn graduate.
Cozart focused on the power of being a "dreamer," saying that he has been one his entire life.
"I just want to ask you, are you dreamers," asked Cozart of the nearly 400 graduates. "How many times in the past few months have you dreamed of this day?"
He also touched on he and his wife's journey to get from his home state of New York to Oskaloosa, which included packing all of his belongings into a car he'd purchased for $35.
"We really had no idea how far we had to travel," said Cozart of the trip halfway across the country. "We were just hoping the car wouldn't break down."
There was also a bit of humor in Cozart's speech. He hinted at the idea of commencement speakers, himself included, being forgotten by the graduates they were speaking to. Cozart admitted that in trying to remember his own commencement speaker at his Penn graduation, the individual's identity was completely lost to him.
"I don't think I could remember if it was a male or female," said Cozart bluntly. "I am confident that many words spoken by me here today will be lost like puffs of smoke as quickly as they leave my lips."
Midway through his speech, Cozard recalled his time on Penn's football team, where he said he learned many more life lessons outside the classroom. Cozart said he learned the meaning of what it is to be humble in victory and how to remain resigned to greatness when a loss would come his way.
"A loser is a person who expects to be unsuccessful," Cozart said. "For them, failure is an acceptable option. Just because you lose, that does not make you a loser."
Cozart when on to say that, as the class of 2010 realizes their dream of graduating, another dream will present itself to them. That dream will be where their careers will take them. He added, the 2010 graduates can expect their careers to be redefined several times over.
"Build on this dream," Cozart said.
Herald City Editor Andy Goodell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org