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Hundreds Bid Farewell to College at Saturday’s Graduation Ceremony

Saturday marked the beginning of a new journey for hundreds of students as they gave their final farewell to John Brown University.

Saturday marked the beginning of a new journey for hundreds of people. Dressed in caps, gowns and hoods, students gave their final farewell to John Brown University as they walked across the stage.

Rollin L. Ford, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., addressed the graduating class of 2012 at the 110th John Brown University commencement ceremonies in Siloam Springs.

"If you don't hear anything else that I've shared this morning, remember this, talent is God-given so be humble," Ford said. "Fame is man-given, be grateful and conceit is self-given so be careful."

Allison Rankin delivered the student speech. She said speaking alongside Ford was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and something she'll never forget.

"I think that it means more to me than I probably could even say, but it was definitely an honor and a blessing," she said.

Every year, more than 2,000 students from 41 states and 44 countries enroll at JBU.

"I'm an international student,” said International Business and Marketing major, Aida Hernandez. “I’m a Walton Scholar from Central America. I'm from El Salvador. So my first plan is to go home, I haven't seen my family in four years, so it's good to go home."

Ford wasn't just there to deliver the commencement address, but also to watch his daughter, Paige, achieve her goal of earning a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education.

"On this special day, on behalf of the board, your family, and all of your friends, I congratulate each and every one of you here for all of your accomplishments," said Ford.

Ford is a graduate of Taylor University in Upland, Ind., and holds a bachelor's degree in business administration and systems analysis.

He began his career at Walmart in 1983 and worked his way up through the logistics organization, managing all aspects of the supply chain.

In 2006, Ford was named Walmart’s Chief Information Officer, and in 2012 he was named Chief Administrative Officer, leading Walmart’s global Information Systems Division, Global Business Processes, Global Shared Services, Global Customer Insights and Global Sourcing organizations.

Ford sits on the Board of Directors for John Brown University, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and the Mercy Health System of Northwest Arkansas. He also is a board member of the GS1 Management Board.