After years as a higher education administrator, Beta Omicron Chapter alumnus Larry W. Gracie entered retirement by inspiring college graduates to never give up in life. On Friday, May 10, 2013 Gracie delivered the commencement address at Pamlico Community College in Grantsboro, North Carolina. In April he retired as the school’s vice president of instructional services.
He said the invitation to speak was an honor and felt he was graduating with [the seniors]. His message to the 107 graduates was quite familiar; one instilled in him by his parents. “My theme was dealing with the hand you were dealt,” he said. Neither of his parents graduated from high school, but found success in life by demonstrating a strong work ethic, tenacity, and intelligence. Gracie said his parents supported he and his brothers’ very different choices in careers as a college administrator, an electrician, and a metal worker.
Gracie’s legacy will continue to impact the futures of young people studying at Pamlico. In April, the college named a scholarship in his honor. He asked that it be awarded to a first-year student who showed “potential.”
Retirement isn’t going slow the pace of his schedule. This summer, Gracie and his wife Joan are travelling to New Mexico to work at a high adventure camp. “It will be rewarding. It may be the most foolish or exciting experience (or a little of both) that we’ve done for a while!”
Gracie’s professional journey began after he graduated from Northwestern State University in 1970 with a degree in Social Science Education. There, he served as Archon (president) of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity from 1968 to 1969. Later earning a Master’s Degree in Counseling and Student Personnel Administration from Texas A&M- Commerce, Gracie also holds a PhD in Higher Education from Florida State University. He previously served as head of a division of the North Carolina Community College system.
“Archon Larry” gives this advice for success to his fellow Pi Kapps:
Every person is unique. Don’t let others define your success.
Follow your passion.
Respect is earned and only so when you learn to respect others.
The world does not owe you anything.
Find volunteer opportunities.
“Two items I told them that would be on their Final”
- Life partner– the most important choice you will make.
- Have fun! Find a balanced life.