ROCK HILL, S.C. - Ruth Shaw, group executive of public policy and president of Duke Nuclear for Duke Energy, advised Winthrop University graduates to “Be. Know. Do” as they completed their degree requirements and head out into the real world.
She addressed nearly 540 students during the 11 a.m. ceremony today at Winthrop Coliseum. Before her speech, she was given an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Shaw told students that "Be. Know. Do" is not a slogan she created but that the phrase represents tenets of U.S. Army leadership and provides a good framework for living.
When Shaw graduated with an English degree, she never imagined herself as the president and CEO of one of the nation’s leading electric utilities. "Not a single course I took, for any degree I ever earned, truly prepared me for the realities of my career," Shaw said.
"But I learned how to think; how to analyze; how to be a part of a team; how to communicate; how to synthesize – and how to recognize my own incompetence and do something about it. My degrees, as it turns out, stood more for what I could learn than what I already knew. And yours will, too. That is why ‘commencement’ means beginning, instead of end. That combination of ‘be’ who you are and ‘know’ your competence and capability is the basis of your actions – what you really ‘do’ in your life."
In her current job, Shaw provides executive leadership for nuclear strategy and operations, environmental policy and other public policy issues. Previously she was president and chief executive office for Duke Power from 2003-2006. Before joining Duke, Shaw was president of Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte from 1986-1992 and previously was president of El Centro College in Dallas, Texas.
A native of Danville, Va., Shaw received her B.A. and M.A. degrees in English from East Carolina University. She also received her Ph.D. in higher educational administration from the University of Texas-Austin.