2013 Commencement Address: Dr. Henry C. Lee

President Gena Glickman, Board of Regents, Distinguished Guests, Faculty, Family and Graduates—

]I would like to first congratulate each of the graduates for your accomplishments in the academic world, and families for your sacrifices in support of the graduates and, of course, the faculty of Manchester Community College for your teaching and guidance that produced this group of fine graduates.
You might expect me to talk to you about how to crack a homicide or about the business of saving the world. No, I won’t. I am here to share some of my secrets with you. In recent years, I have had the opportunity to travel, lecture, participate in panels, and counsel on cases in many counties around the world. I often hear remarks that, unless one belongs to the ‘magic circle’, it is impossible to get ahead in our life. Yes, there is something in today’s world called ‘in the circle’. If you have a last name of Gates, Kennedy, or Trump, the door will open for you. However, the myth that one must be born into a rich or famous family and be a Yale or Harvard graduate to be successful is incorrect. It is up to the individual to create his or her own magic. I still remember in 1965, my wife and I came to the US to further our study. We spoke few words of English and the two of us together had fifty dollars in our pocket. Today we still speak few words of English, but we sure have a lot of money in our pocket. This is the best country in the world; as long as you are willing to work hard, you will have a chance to succeed.

Dreams are a wonderful thing. They help us to plan our future. Dream big - today’s dream can be tomorrow’s reality. The world will not change, unless you dream. I want to share a secret with you. When I came to the US in 1965, my first degree was from Manhattan Community College. In fact, community colleges enroll about 44 percent of the nation's college population in the US and almost two-thirds of the students are black, Hispanic, Asian immigrants - many typically considered sub-class in higher education. Usually we are considered as the outsider of any magic circle. I still remember those days, I had to work three jobs – I worked at a medical center as a lab technician, worked at a restaurant as a waiter, and taught Kung Fu and karate on weekends to pay my tuition and to support the family. Everybody told me my America dream was impossible, but I made it possible. I became the first Chinese crime lab director in the US, first Chinese chief criminalist, first Chinese state police commissioner, first Chinese professor at the University of New Haven, and the first to have 40 books, 22 honorary doctorate degrees, a TV show, and a couple of buildings named after me. This is a beautiful country as long as you work hard, have knowledge in your mind, strength in your body and passion in your heart; you definitely can create your own magic circle.

To have strength in your body, you must have acute awareness of your own abilities and your limitations. Many people think that when I was born, I already had set my career goal to become one of the world’s best forensic scientists. But I have another secret to share with you - when I was in high school I wanted to be a basketball player. I even made an appointment with the coach. He took a look at me and said, “Son, when you grow another two feet, then come back to see me.” I took him literally and I went home and tried to stretch myself, hoping for a couple of more inches. Until one night, I realized, I just don’t have Michael Jordon’s chromosomes, or Yao Ming’s DNA. So I become a police officer. There are tens of thousands of professions in this world. Every professional needs a few good ones to develop and improve their profession. Why not pick an area of your interest within your ability and find the knowledge, strength and passion? Soon, you will realize the magic will happen.

We gain knowledge through education. Education is the foundation for success. From science to art, from engineering to finance, from criminal justice to forensics, in whatever field of endeavor you choose, you must have the appropriate education. Manchester Community College has provided you with an excellent and a strong foundation for creating your magic.

However, a degree alone is not enough. It does not guarantee success. From this point, you must strive to accumulate more knowledge and skill, and eventually become an expert in your chosen field. Passion for whatever you do is the secret for success. You must have a winner’s attitude.

The winner always has a program; the loser always has an excuse.
The winner sees an answer for every problem; the loser sees a problem for every answer.
The loser always says “It is too difficult”, The winner says “It may be difficult but it is possible”.
The loser always says “It is not my job”, the winner says “let me do it for you”.
The loser always says “There is no way”, the winner always finds a way.

So be a winner. Fill your heart with passion. Follow your dream. You will march to your goal with success. Once again, thank you for having me. God bless you all. Live happily.
News Item Posted On: May 30, 2013
For Additional Information Contact: Bonnie Willgoos at 860-512-2928