Not all leaders are created equal, judge tells graduates (video link)

There are leaders—and then there are leaders.

That was the message Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert H. Oliver gave to the newest FPU graduates at fall commencement on Saturday, December 17.

Whether you hunger for elective office or yearn only to end each workday quietly at home, “in order to protect what you have, what you yearn for and what you hope to pass on…you will be called on and have an obligation to lead,” said Oliver, whose community commitments have included being president, chair or board member of the Fresno State Foundation Board of Governors, Rotary Club of Fresno, Fresno City and County Historical Society, the San Joaquin College of Law, Fresno Regional Foundation, St. Agnes Medical Center and Sequoia Council, Boy Scouts of America.

More than 350 students participated in the largest fall graduation since the event was added in 2004. The 10:00 a.m. commencement honored 44 master’s and 35 traditional undergraduates, while 273 bachelor’s degree completion graduates walked during the 2:00 p.m. commencement. Both ceremonies took place in the Special Events Center on the main FPU campus.

Most people will be necessary leaders. Those who don’t change the world, but work hard to keep their communities going. “We all pay our dues,” Oliver said.

A few may be called upon to be visionary leaders, devoting all they have to a cause, even to great risk. Oliver cited the Apostle Paul. “He was eventually imprisoned and died as a result of his unwavering commitment,” Oliver said. “The result of his commitment was a rapid spread of Christianity.”

Then there’s the drum major leader. With a big hat and fancy stick, the drum major is in front, but what say his followers? “The band will allow him to think he’s our leader, but they already know what they’re going to do,” Oliver said.

Everyone can be a quiet leader, leading lives of significance. “Individuals who seek nothing from their good works; who know that recognition on earth is both transitory and fleeting,” Oliver said. Everyone brings individual talents to the challenges their communities face, he added. “Each of you has the ability by word or deed to affect someone else’s life.”