Bradford Shares Lessons to Live By

Shelby County Commissioner David Bradford ’95 spoke in chapel about how MUS prepared him for life, and he offered a few recommendations based on his experiences.

Bradford, business development officer for Turner Construction Company in Memphis, offered a quote from poet Maya Angelou illustrating the importance of treating everyone with respect: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
“You’d be amazed at how small the world really is,” he said. “You never know where that person you were picking on in 10th grade will wind up in 10 to 15 years.”

When Bradford graduated from MUS in 1995, he didn’t realize the influence of his teachers until he started at Mississippi State University and realized how well-prepared he was. He still finds himself quoting Faculty Emeritus Bill Taylor, and he cited Lower School Principal Loyal Murphy ’86 for his excellent math instruction.

“Listen to your teachers and get to know them,” Bradford said. “Whether you realize it or not, they will leave a lasting imprint on you.”

He encouraged students to “be responsive and do what you say you are going to do.” This simple practice will help anyone move forward in their lives, he said, whether it be in college or the professional world.

Next, he urged the boys to listen, “especially to those that you don’t agree with or don’t have anything in common with,” and to get involved by volunteering to help others.  

“You’d be amazed how far it will take you in life by just showing up,” he said. “It means a lot to people when you show up to support them.”

Bradford said he answered the call to participate in local government because he wants to better the community. After explaining the role county commissioners play in setting property taxes, approving the budget, and establishing laws and ordinances, he encouraged the students to come back to Memphis after college and get involved.

“We need good, smart, and diligent people to help run this community, and I can’t think of a better group,” he said. “Yes, Memphis has its flaws, but so do all the other cities in the world.”  

Bradford closed by highlighting a core Community Creed principle - truth.

“Be honest,” he said. “Be honest to yourself. Be honest to others. Life is a lot simpler and easier to keep up with if you live by the truth.”

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