Orman to graduates: Save now and focus on needs over wants


Suze Orman with K.T. Travis prior to graduation 2013.

Suze Orman with her brand manager, K.T. Travis, prior to 2013 commencement.

By Sarah Carey

Members of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2013 will probably go down in history as the only class to ever graduate in the national spotlight, with media present and hundreds tuning in via live stream video to hear celebrity financial advisor Suze Orman present the college’s commencement address at the UF Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 25.

Orman’s niece, Katie Stender, was one of the new graduates, and it was not Orman’s first time in the Phillips Center. Two years ago, she sat quietly in the audience and beamed proudly with other family members when Stender received her white coat along with other classmates, symbolizing their upcoming transition into clinical rotations in the sophomore professional coating ceremony.

This year Orman captivated a sold-out audience from the podium, reminding the graduates that “anything is possible” in their future. She recounted the “roller coaster” Stender had put her on, starting with Stender’s initial desire to get into veterinary school against impossible odds; then getting into veterinary school; then being overwhelmed by the workload and the fear of failure; then getting past those hurdles only to face additional ones.

Katie Stender and Suze Orman.

Katie Stender,  (UFCVM’13), adjusts her aunt Suze Orman’s gown prior to the commencement ceremony.

“Now you’re happy again, but in a few short days, I can promise you….you are going to get depressed again because you are going to start paying back your loans,” Orman said. “But you did things that no matter how much they pay me, I would never do. So why do you think you can’t pay back your student loans? If you keep thinking you can’t, I’m here to tell you that you never will. Your words have the power to create or to destroy. That choice, doctors, is up to you. You can and will do anything you want to, and all you have to do is take it one day at a time.”

She added, “I talk about money more than anyone in the world, and I have learned that the worst enemy is fear. If you are afraid of your loans, you will fail at them. Don’t say, ‘I hate my loans and I will never pay them back.’ Say instead, ‘I love the fact that I will one day repay my student loans.”

Orman told the students to focus on doing three things – living below their means, buying only things that they need, not things they want; and saving money rather than spending, starting now.

“And keep good company,” Orman said, urging the students to spend time with people who want them “to have more, not spend it on all these things that have no meaning.”

The entire ceremony is available for viewing here.


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