12/03/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 12/03/2019 08:59
James Fraiser never planned to go to college, much less provide his alma mater's commencement address. But that's just what the communication major from Madison, Ga., will do at Indiana State University's winter graduation at 11 a.m. Dec. 14 at the Hulman Center.
Fraiser's journey to Indiana State started with the Marines and ended with love when he relocated to area to be closer to his now-wife, Mandy. The couple welcomed a son, Rhett, on May 14.
'I didn't plan on going to college at all after high school, but I had a full G.I. Bill and figured I'd use it and get a better job,' he said. 'It was a good choice in the long run.'
Fraiser now of Jasonville, Ind., has a job lined up as a management trainee with Enterprise pending graduation. 'Everybody who works there -- I've had some buddies who are employees -- has given positive feedback. The program looks great. I'm really excited about it,' he said.
A middle child of six children, Fraiser says he was stubborn and rebellious as a youth. He was homeschooled until his junior year, when he opted to go to public high school. Fraiser said he 'flourished' and graduated from Morgan County High School with a 3.8 GPA in 2011.
Fraiser then enlisted in the Marines. He completed bootcamp at Parris Island, S.C., during its sweltering summer, followed by the school of infantry at Camp LeJeune. He was deployed twice with the 3rd Battalion 5th Marine Regiment.
As a lance corporal, Fraiser was responsible for the command of as many as six Marines and accountable for more than $30,000 worth of equipment. After being honorably discharged, Fraiser joined the Indiana Army National Guard as a corporal with similar responsibilities as in the Corps.
'A lot of the lessons I learned in the military were reinforced at ISU,' he said. 'One of the big takeaways - and it sounds terrible -- is nobody cares. Sure, friends and family do, but nobody cares about your issues like you do. It doesn't justify you carrying them around with a chip on your shoulder and looking for pity.'
Same goes for the good things in life, Fraiser said. He was proud to graduate from bootcamp, but 'when I got to my unit, nobody cared because everybody there was a Marine.'
'What can you bring to the table now? You can't live in the past, you have to keep pushing forward,' he said.
Fraiser's hobbies include photography, fitness and acting. He was cast in three productions at Indiana State -- 'Streetcar Named Desire,' a one-act production named 'Never Swim Alone' and 'MacBeth.'
Hulman Center, which is on-time and on-budget for a $50 million upgrade set to be complete late 2020, remains the preferred location to host commencement because of its capacity. The south entrance and concourse are closed at this time. At the conclusion of the ceremony, graduates will be led to the ground-level of the covered parking garage at the corner of Eighth Street and Larry Bird Avenue, where they will meet loved ones.
The alumni speaker is Rob Lowe, '92, GR '97, vice president of human resources and corporate talent acquisition for JBT Aerotech based in Orlando. JBT AeroTech has operations in North America, Europe and Asia.
With more 20 years of experience, Lowe has held leadership roles in human resources for several Fortune 500 companies. Prior to joining JBT AeroTech, he served as the senior human resources director for The Nature's Bounty Company based in Boca Raton, Fla. There, he led the HR function for the southeast and west regions, including multiple packaging and manufacturing plants across Florida, Texas, California and Arizona.
Lowe earned a bachelor's in business management and a master's degree in human resource development from Indiana State. He holds both a SPHR and SHRM-SCP certification. He is also a certified circuit court mediator for the Florida Supreme Court. He is proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
The ceremony will be livestreamed at indstate.edu/academic-affairs/commencement/live. A broadcast of the processionals will begin approximately 15 minutes prior to the ceremony.
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Media contact: Mark Alesia, director of university communication
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