It is a special time here at West Virginia University and other colleges and universities.

Old doors closing and new ones opening.

Energetic students and proud parents. Graduation weekend.

It is a time of celebration and reflection.

This weekend was about our purpose.

The Japanese refer to this as ikigai – the reason for being.

I think our most foundational purpose is to serve humanity through bringing hope, safety, love and harmony to the people we touch and to the places we live.

To see the best in others, which reflects to ourselves. To let the light that is within all of us shine brightly.

I see this light in every student. I see it in our faculty. In our purpose.

I have been lucky enough to address all of our health science graduates and at the end of my address I have read Marianne Williamson’s work that was also read at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.

A celebration of new beginnings.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

We are all powerful lights for others and for ourselves.

Shine brightly.


  • Clay B. Marsh

    Chief Health Officer, West Virginia University

    Clay B. Marsh, MD, is West Virginia University’s chief health officer, and serves as a member of President E. Gordon Gee’s leadership team. As WVU’s vice president for health sciences, he oversees five health sciences schools and three health campuses.