Valarie McCubbins hopes to inspire at graduation

Valarie McCubbins, a 2004 graduate in mass communication, will be delivering the commencement address on Dec. 15 at Kay Yeager Coliseum to approximately 512 students starting at 10 a.m.

Valerie McCubbins
Valarie McCubbins to give commencement address.

McCubbins said, “When I opened the email I was shocked. I wasn’t quite sure what the email was saying or wanting me to do. After about a day or two, I stopped second guessing myself, and I realized ‘Why not me?’ It took a couple days for me to feel comfortable with this, but I realized I could do it, and I am not backing down.”

McCubbins received an email from an individual with the deciding committee inviting her to speak at graduation this year. Her initial reaction was shock, but she has turned her emotions into fuel for success.

“This feels really big and important to me because I have been there,” McCubbins said. “I have sat where these students will sit on Saturday. I have had all of the same fears, questions and excitement that they have had while they are trying to figure out what they will do next. I just feel like this is a great moment for me to come to them as someone who has been there and explain how I tackled what the next steps are.”

McCubbins spent 12 years in New York City working within the marketing and advertising departments for multi-million dollar brands. She now works in Texas as senior vice president of client service at the Austin marketing firm Unique Influence.

Director of Board and Government Relations Debbie Barrow said, “Valarie McCubbins is one of the people that the members of the committee thought would make a great impression. She has had success and hasn’t been out of the university for too terribly long, but she has accomplished quite a lot.”

A committee consisting of the chair of the Faculty Senate, the chair of the Staff Senate and the president of Student Government give ideas and suggestions for the speaker for commencement. The president of the University makes the final decision for the speaker, but the decision is made considering the thoughts of the committee members.

“We would like the speakers to talk about whatever they think they should share with the graduating class,” Barrow said. “We leave it up to the speakers to present the address however they like. I think she will do a great job. She has done some really great things. I feel very confident that she will have a good message for the students.”

Working for the businesses she has, McCubbins has spoken in large crowds. According to McCubbins, minoring in theater gave her good practice for being in front of people.

“I feel prepared,” McCubbins said. “I don’t back away from anything that scares me. Even though I wish I could be a thousand times more prepared than I am, it still excites me because it’s something I have never done before. I feel so honored that anybody thought I am the right person to do this.”

McCubbins said she feels that if one person takes something away from her message, she will feel like she succeeded. She hopes she can help any student that might be listening and feeling like they are unsure of themselves or the future.

“If the students could take one thing away from my speech, I hope it is ‘Don’t waste your time planning your life too much, make sure you are actually living you life,'” McCubbins said.

McCubbins’ Accomplishments:

  • Earned a Master of Arts in advertising from the University of Texas in 2005
  • Member of Alpha Phi at MSU
  • Served as president of the National Panhellenic Council
  • Named Greek Woman of the Year in 2004
  • Member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Chi, Alpha Psi Omega
  • President of Order of Omega
  • Awarded Outstanding Freshmen Chemistry Lab Student
  • Her senior group won first place in videography/editing at the Southwest Journalism Congress
  • Performed in several theatrical productions
  • Directed a one-act play as part of a course for her theater minor
  • Received the Mass Communication Department’s inaugural Alumni Award in 2012