Rapper Common urges Penn State students to strive for greatness

For the CDTFebruary 11, 2014 

— Students were motivated and inspired to achieve their personal greatness on Monday night in the Eisenhower Auditorium during a speech given by rapper Common.

Lonnie Lynn, known by his stage name, Common, visited Penn State as part of the Student Programming Association’s Distinguished Speaker Series. Common is a Chicago-based actor, rapper and motivational speaker.

“I want greatness,” Common said. “And I want all of us to have greatness in our lives.”

Common shared with the students how in order to achieve greatness they must follow three steps: Find your path, believe your path and live your path.

Common said that part of achieving greatness is a part of walking in your journey through life.

He said that there is something inside each and every one of us that knows what we love to do, and we need to find the passion to do what we love and stick to it because that is the key to achieving our greatness.

“People around you may not encourage what you love,” Common said. “But what you love is your path.”

Common shared with the audience how hard it was for him at first to believe in himself and it was not until he started to believe and work hard was able to begin on his journey to his greatness.

A few years ago Common was nominated for five Grammy awards and he did not win one, despite his belief that he would. He said that even though you may have the expectation that some things will happen, it may not happen at the time that you want it to.

“The higher you climb in achieving greatness, the harder it is going to become,” Common said. “You must take a moment and appreciate how far you have climbed.”

Common said he knows tough times will come but that with the help of God and family that we will always come out of it.

“We get a lot of motivational speakers here at Penn State and because he is in the mainstream media he has more of an impact on students,” senior Jenny Kim said.

Kim said she believed that the audience was moved and inspired by Common’s speech.

Common stars in the series “Hell on Wheels.” He also founded an organization in Chicago called the Common Ground Foundation, which encourages kids to get involved in the arts and develop character.

Megan Caldwell is a Penn State journalism student.

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