Upper Iowa University’s 2022 graduates were provided some parting words of wisdom during UIU’s commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 7, when commencement speaker and alumnus Brian Sims ’08, ’10, presented “Lessons of the 10-Year Rule.”

“Either in school or in life, there is always a lesson to learn,” Sims said. “So, Peacocks, here is your final class before you graduate. Today’s lesson is the one rule that put my life on a trajectory to where I am today.”

Sims graduated summa cum laude with a major in human resources management and a minor in finance, and later earned a Master of Business Administration degree, with an emphasis in organizational development, at UIU. A distinguished graduate of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy, he served as the Iowa director for recruiting and administered the recruitment of physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.  A retired Air Force veteran, Sims achieved the rank of master sergeant during his 20 years of service.

It was after being diagnosed with a cancerous tumor while attending the Noncommissioned Officer Academy that Sims was introduced to the 10-Year Rule by his advisor, who said, “If it doesn’t matter in 10 years, it doesn’t matter today.”

Sims explained to those attending Saturday’s ceremonies that the first lesson the 10-year rule provides is for a person to align their ambitions and purpose with patience.  The rule also advises people to be humble, embrace failure, attain competitive greatness, be forward-looking, evaluate their current situation, create a plan, and envision where they see themselves a decade later.

“Finally, the last lesson of the 10-year rule is to touch your piece of the world,” Sims closed. “Perhaps the next Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein or Bill Gates is among us today and that person will change the world.  Most of us will not, but you can touch your piece of the world.  It doesn’t matter if you live in Trumann, Arkansas; Chariton, Iowa; or Hermiston, Oregon – you can make a difference.  Volunteer in your community, join a civic organization like Rotary, clean the sidewalks of the neighborhood after a blizzard, give to Upper Iowa University.  Just do something.  At any point in time, one person knows roughly 100 people.  You can touch 10,000 people in a lifetime.  Just imagine how big your piece of the world could become.”

Sims now serves as a critical access hospital chief executive officer with Good Shepherd Health Care System in Hermiston, Oregon. With over 700 employees and 80 providers, Good Shepherd meets the medical needs of its communities with services not often seen in rural facilities, including a Level III trauma center, medical/surgical, OB/GYN, critical care, rural health clinic, and hospice. Sims was previously employed at Lucas County Health Center in Chariton, Iowa, and Knoxville Hospital & Clinics in Knoxville, Iowa.

Earlier, when welcoming those attending the ceremony at Harms-Eischeid Stadium in Fayette, Iowa, UIU President William R. Duffy praised the graduates and everyone involved with the students’ success.

“Today is the culmination of dreams coming true, hard work, persistence, and a commitment to succeed,” Duffy said. “As you continue on your life journey, I encourage all of you to continue to set goals, never be afraid to fail, provide solutions—not problems, make a difference, change a life, and pay your success forward for others.”

Approximately 350 students were recognized for earning their respective degrees at the day’s two ceremonies. Receiving the Csomay Honors Program medallions during the commencement exercises were Kiersten Koch, a Secondary English Education major from Freeport, Illinois: and Sara Zainal, a software engineering major from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

“Today, you have accomplished one of the biggest goals of your life.” Alumni Association president Danny John ’16, ’18, said while closing the ceremonies. “You should stand proud amongst your peers and celebrate your accomplishment. Now go forth, inspire and challenge others to follow their dream as you have followed yours.”

A private, nonprofit university, UIU provides undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 4,500 students at its main Fayette Campus, and over 20 U.S. education locations in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Images from the 2022 cermeonies will continue to be posted over the coming days at www.flickr.com/upperiowauniversity.