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Merlin Olsen Speaks at USU Commencement

Merlin Olsen Speaks at USU Commencement



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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- Utah State University's 2005 graduates are authors, just completing the first chapters of their life stories, actor and NFL Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen told the university's 113th spring commencement.

"The stories you are writing are as unique as you are, directed by your thoughts and imaginations but written by your performance," the USU alumnus told graduates and their families Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum,

"It's your life, it's your story, take charge and write it as you want to see it written," Olsen said. "It is my hope and prayer that each of your stories will be filled with good things," he said.

Olsen was the third overall pick in the 1962 NFL draft and was a defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams for 14 years. He was named to the Hall of Fame in 1982.

He said the challenges football brought helped him to better understand himself.

"I certainly loved being able to test myself against the very best. I loved the fact there were such incredible highs and such extreme lows," said Olsen, who also appeared in "Little House on the Prairie" for four years.

And no matter life's course, Olsen told graduates they should never stray far off the path they've chosen, despite any difficulties that may arise.

"There are always events that we cannot control. ... There are days the dragon wins. Success falls to those who intelligently and aggressively pursue their goals and objectives," he said.

USU awarded 3,428 bachelor's degrees. The graduate student commencement ceremony was Friday, with about 401 master's degrees and 30 doctorate degrees awarded. The numbers of both undergraduate and graduate degrees were down because the university held its first fall commencement in December.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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