Duncan Kirkwood – who has spoken to college audiences around the world – delivered a motivational presentation on campus last week.
Kirkwood’s visit was sponsored by the university’s Dare 2 Dream program, in collaboration with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.
Throughout his presentation, Kirkwood engaged with Daemen students and focused on three topics: passion, perseverance and purpose.
On the topic of perseverance, Kirkwood encouraged students to view failure and setbacks as part of their overall journey in pursuing life goals.
“Transforming how you see failure,” said Kirkwood, “challenges you to find balance. This process propels you forward.”
He also pushed students to work on developing a sense of self-purpose, especially as they embark on their post-college careers and lives.
“You can be great right now, you can build a legacy right now,” he said, adding: “When you figure out your purpose, the world will be better too. … People will benefit.”
While Kirkwood was completing his undergraduate degree – earned at Alabama State University, one of the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) – he reluctantly joined a club focused on foreign policy, he told the audience.
Yet, the club led him to visit Washington D.C., where he met then-U.S. Senators Barack Obama, and Hilary Clinton, as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice among other national leaders.
“All of that opportunity came,” said Kirkwood, a Buffalo native, “because I stepped out of my comfort zone.”