A man who has spent nearly 40 years in the business field encouraged Tiffin University graduates to make everything they do shine.
“Passion transcends your major,” said Gary Heminger, President and Chief Executive Officer of Marathon Petroleum Corp. Heminger delivered the keynote address for Tiffin University’s 126th commencement on May 3. He spoke in the building bearing his family’s name.
During the commencement ceremony, President Paul Marion offered the opening remarks, Claire Johansen, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, introduced Heminger, and Charles Christensen, Vice President for Academic Affairs, presented the candidates for degrees.
More than 1,100 people completed degrees. Heminger announced his decision to step down as Chairman of the Board of Trustees after having served for 18 years. TU’s Board of Trustees named him Chairman Emeritus.
Heminger said it was an honor for him to be at commencement and shared information about what employers are looking for as graduates prepared to launch themselves into the world of work.
Their degree and the work they put into it was the first step. Heminger told graduates that they would be evaluated on individual performance, communicating and collaborating effectively.
Graduates will be surrounded by people who have expectations of them, and the graduates will have expectations of others, he said.
“When you are dependable, communication becomes easier,” he said. “Effective collaboration means being a good team player.” Heminger, who grew up in Tiffin and attended St. Mary’s School and Calvert High School, received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tiffin University in 1976 while already employed by Marathon Oil Co., Findlay. He obtained a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Dayton and also graduated from the Wharton School Advanced Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania.
In an interview prior to commencement, Heminger said he has fond memories of being a student at Tiffin University almost 40 years ago when the campus consisted of the Main Classroom Building and the Pfeiffer Library.
“That’s all we had,” he said.
Heminger, who also served as the commencement speaker in 1990, when he first joined TU’s Board of Trustees, said people cannot be successful unless they have a strong support group and credited his wife, Jane, for developing their children and family.
“People have to have passion and drive if they want to succeed and move their career forward. Not everyone, he said, has a similar desire to run a company,” he said.
His belief is that a team will beat an individual any day, and he always has driven his leadership philosophy around a team concept. Developing people, watching them flourish and take on assignments and responsibility to go to the next level is what he enjoys most about his job.
He said he is not an engineer. He is running a company that is technically complex, but he has had the pleasure of working with people who are willing to work as team members.
Heminger encouraged people to be confident in what they do and to have conviction in their philosophy and what they want to accomplish. He stressed the importance of having passion for what one does, having the drive to accomplish it and being curious and genuine.
“Surround yourself with experts. Listen to them; let them run that (operational) side of the business,” he said.