Wadsworth Cites Home, Job, Ethics to UT Grads

KNOXVILLE — The director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory shared four important life questions Sunday with about 1,500 graduates at the University of Tennessee’s Fall 2003 commencement ceremony.

Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth

Dr. Jeffrey Wadsworth told graduates to closely consider where they want to live; job satisfaction; balancing work, family and community; and personal ethics.

Wadsworth, who lived in Germany, Holland, England, India, Singapore, said moving here was right for him because of the job at ORNL.

“Are you willing to go where the work is, or do you want to work to come to you? Do you value the characteristics of a small town or a large city? Will your choice depend on how easy it is to visit parents and family?” Wadsworth asked.

“I came to East Tennessee because I had the opportunity to lead one of the world’s great research laboratories here in Oak Ridge, so I have chosen to build my lifestyle around the job.”

Wadsworth said being happy with your job is important.

“The desire to quickly attain a quality lifestyle is a powerful motivation, but put simply are you willing to work in a job you’re not happy at?
“I’ve got very strong advice for you. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself if you are happy about the prospect of going to work. If the answer is no, change your job. Life is too precious to do it doing something you don’t enjoy.”

Graduates — particularly those from East Tennessee — must decide for themselves how they will split time between career, family and community, he said.

“I have found, especially here in East Tennessee, that the power of community is particularly strong,” Wadsworth said. “In fact I think it is quite unique here compared to most places I’ve lived in.”

Finally, Wadsworth advised students to question fundamental values and ethical issues related to their careers. He cited companies like Enron and recent scientific research as examples.

In closing, Wadsworth advised graduates to be patient, get help from smart people, and to be inclusive.

“Today, take the opportunity to celebrate a wonderful milestone in your life. Take pride in what you’ve accomplished at this great university, and perhaps as you start your careers you will find yourself pondering at least some of the questions I’ve posed today.”