Freeport, Grand Bahama native Lancelot Darville graduated from Northwood University's Florida Campus as Valedictorian at its 2013 commencement ceremony held Tuesday, May 7th, 2013, and was invited to address the crowd as the University's featured graduate.
The finance major encouraged the crowd to "press on, whatever the problem, circumstance or situation." While quoting Abe Lincoln and pointing out that he was a man who failed in a business venture at the age of 21; lost his girlfriend at the age of 26; had a nervous breakdown at age 27; and was defeated in 8 elections – all before becoming the sixteenth president of the United States, he stressed the power of persistence.
Darville also paid tribute to his parents, Northwood University professors, and to his faith. "Above all, we must not forget to thank Almighty God for his unceasing grace and guidance. Because He is the true omnipotent, even with persistence and determination, without him, we would not be this far. So, we thank you Almighty God," he said.
An academic title conferred upon the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony (called a valedictory), valedictorians are usually the student with the highest ranking among his or her graduating class. The term is an anglicized derivation of the Latin vale dicere ("to say farewell"), historically rooted in the valedictorian's traditional role as the final speaker at the graduation ceremony.