Dr. Jennifer Isern, a 1989 UM graduate from Lewistown, has taken on global responsibilities in her position on the World Bank, and offered advice from her life experience to students graduating from the University of Montana as commencement speaker on Saturday.

After receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters from President Sheila Stearns, Dr. Isern went right to work with some very practical pieces of advice for students.

The first, she said, was to save, and offered a comparison.

"What would yield you more savings?," she asked. "A hundred dollars a month for 40 years, or three hundred dollars a month for 20 years? The answer is just one hundred dollars a month and that will yield you over 40 years $118,000, and that is the power of compounding interest, so start early. The lesson here really is, it's not about how much money you make, but about how much money you save."

The second piece of advice to students was to keep learning.

"Michelangelo reportedly said at the age of 87, 'I'm still learning'," she continued. "This is a quote I've had on my desk for 20 years, and it motivates me daily. Train your mind to learn, and invest in your ongoing skills and knowledge."

The third nugget of wisdom from Dr. Isern, was simply to be grateful.

" First, be grateful for your own health," she continued. "Take care of yourself, and balance work and life. Second, be grateful for friends and family who helped you along the way, and third, be grateful for community. The University of Montana is a great source of inspiration and community, and will be for your entire life."

Also receiving an honorary Doctor of Letters at Saturday's commencement, was the late former President of the University of Montana George Dennison. The honor was accepted by his family.

In all, 3,088 students received nearly 3,500 degrees, with between 1,500 and 2,000 receiving their degrees at the stadium, and the remainder at the individual ceremonies throughout the day.


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