“Did you know when you graduate those letters after your name will increase your income?” Allan Grant asked the Southwestern Community College academic award recipients.
As speaker for the awards ceremony Tuesday evening on SCC’s Jackson Campus, Grant told the recipients, “In your working lifetime an AA after your name will mean a quarter million more than just a high school diploma; a BA will mean half a million more.”
But letters after a name are no guarantee of wisdom, said Grant, an SCC English instructor since 1998.
Grant, who is retiring in May, said one of the people he learned the most wisdom from was the late Arthur Allman of Webster. “While I ranted about the injustices in life and my desire to correct them all, Arthur said to me, ‘Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?’ Arthur made me realize that being happy is a choice.”
Grant’s happiness comes from a passion for the arts, he told the crowd. “Literature, music, singing, playing, dancing, drawing, painting, sculpting- these are our birthright”
As well as a 50-year career English instructor, Grant is a professional musician who had his own band and even provided sound for Alice Cooper.
That was despite Grant’s third-grade teacher telling him that he had no musical talent. “Ah, but in life I learned there is karma- and even justice,” Grant said.
“Years later, when our band was the hottest group around, that same teacher called and asked me to play at his daughter’s wedding.
“I charged him triple our normal fee and told him it was because of that cruel remark he made to me in the third grade. So, never, never let anyone rob you of your birthright to celebrate the arts. In fact, tonight to celebrate your wonderful achievement, I encourage you to sing and dance!”