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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Commencement speaker inspires graduating seniors

As the honored guest commencement speaker, Temple Grandin discussed the trials in her life and the importance of Texas A&M University’s graduating seniors taking action in the world Thursday evening.
Grandin, a well-known animal scientist, author and autism advocate, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two but went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master and doctoral degree in animal science She was welcomed to the stage by Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Karan Watson.
“She demonstrates to us regularly the commitment necessary to succeed in life,” Watson said.
Watson said the success of Grandin’s inventions and visionary perspective has made it so that half of the equipment and handling procedures used on cattle today in the U.S. and Canada were developed by Grandin.
Grandin attributed her success with animal science and with her education to family and mentor support. Instead of being hindered by her learning disability, she said her disability is actually what has helped her in the field. She sees and thinks in pictures much like it is assumed animals do.
“I’m a visual thinker,” Grandin said. “Everything I think about is like a picture in my mind, and when I was a young kid I used to think that everyone thought in pictures like me. I didn’t know that my thinking was different. And being a visual thinker helped me work at livestock facilities.”
Grandin said society needs different types of thinkers, such as visual thinkers, because they see details other types of thinkers may not see.
“You know, sometimes the most obvious is the least obvious,” Grandin said. “And why don’t the mathematicians see it? I’m finding it’s not stupidity, it’s different kinds of minds. Sometimes the mathematics mind doesn’t see it.”
The world needs different types of thinkers, Grandin said, encouraging the graduating seniors to strive for this as well.
“There’s some industries out there where there is all kinds of opportunity,” Grandin said. “People just don’t realize that.”
Grandin closed her speech with her belief that action is more important than just theory, and she hopes all A&M’s graduating seniors will take a “hands-on” approach to their goals.
“All you graduates out there, let’s go out there and do some real stuff that’s going to really make a difference,” Grandin said.
Graduating senior Guillermo Gomez Salas, civil engineering major, said he felt inspired by Dr. Grandin’s speech and that he already tries to live life everyday by working in practice rather than in theory.
“I really liked her conclusion, it’s really good that she engaged us to instead of doing theory to try to do something new and innovate to make this world better,” Gomez Salas said, going into detail about how he wants to help build more water wells in third world countries and how he will be going on to get his master’s degree to contribute to better water quality in these areas.
Grandin will receive an honorary degree on Friday at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduation ceremony.

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