DUBOIS, Pa. — State Rep. Matt Gabler offered the commencement address at ceremonies held Friday evening, May 5, in the gymnasium at Penn State DuBois. Baccalaureate and associate degrees were conferred by Chancellor M. Scott McBride. Academic Awards for highest GPAs were presented to Brendan Keegan for associate degrees and Shalane Read for baccalaureate degrees.
"Tonight’s commencement is the opportunity to think about the conclusion of formal academic study and the beginning of a career in the workforce. Your course of study — your mission statement — provides you guidance on setting professional goals and deciding what to try and achieve in your career. But it is also so much more than that. Now, you have the opportunity to think not only about your professional mission statement, but your life’s mission statement," Gabler told graduates.
He stressed the importance of hard work, but also that fulfillment comes in other ways. He shared his personal story of finding great satisfaction in his work, but finding true fulfillment and further motivation for hard work outside of the office.
"I had set a goal in 2008 when I started my campaign for state representative. When I was elected, I set the goal to do a good job, serve the community, and advocate for the ideas I felt were best for this area," Gabler said. "In so many ways, that job is so fulfilling and so rewarding to me. But, in a vacuum, it’s still not enough. A fulfilling work day with nothing else, isn’t quite fulfilling. Life is more than a job. I’m so blessed and thankful that I was fortunate enough to meet the person who could show me that — my wife, Lisa, who, seven months ago, brought our little girl Caroline into the world. She has shown me that I can be dedicated and focused on my job, but there is a bigger picture beyond the career. That it’s for a bigger purpose."
Gabler urged students to strive for fulfillment in work and life to assure their greatest success, and to reach their full potential.
"What sort of husband or wife, what sort of mother or father, do you want to be? These questions are all just as important, or, I would argue — these questions are more important than questions about your career goals. As you start your careers with the tools you’ve acquired, think about how you can put those tools to work to better your community beyond the workplace," Gabler said. "We need to ask these questions: What will our fire department look like in 10 years? How about in 20 years? Who will step up and lead our township boards and our city and borough councils? Who will coach our Little League teams? Who will get involved in the Rotary Club or the Lions Club? Your job will provide you the resources to live your life, but your family and your volunteerism will give it meaning.
"Many of you are entering uncharted territory. Commencements often come with change. Change is difficult; changing jobs, starting a new career, maybe even moving to a new home. Please, take the opportunity as soon as possible to get involved. You will find that what you put into something will determine what you get out of it. You have the tools for success. But, nothing ever got fixed by leaving the tools in the box. Please, take them out and use them, and use them often."
First elected in 2008, Gabler is currently serving his fifth term as the representative in the 75th Legislative District in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. For the 2017-18 session, he is a member of the following four committees: Environmental Resources and Energy, Finance, Rules, and State Government. He also has been appointed to serve as deputy chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.
Gabler was born and raised in DuBois and is a lifelong resident of Pennsylvania. He graduated as valedictorian from DuBois Central Catholic High School, and served as student council president. He attended Bucknell University in Lewisburg on a four-year Army ROTC scholarship, and earned his bachelor of arts degree in political science in 2006 with a minor in physics.
Upon graduation, Gabler's commitment to serving others continued through his commissioning as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve. He served as commander of the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 424th Multifunctional Medical Battalion before becoming a medical logistics officer with the Headquarters, 28th Infantry Division, Pennsylvania Army National Guard. He currently holds the rank of captain.
Gabler is a former research analyst in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. His decision to run for office came from a desire to effect real change as an elected leader. Gabler, his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Caroline, reside in Clearfield County. He received the Penn State DuBois Alumni Society's Distinguished Ambassador Award in 2015 for his support of the campus and its mission.
The 75th District consists of all of Elk County, as well as, in Clearfield County, the city of DuBois; the townships of Bloom, Bradford, Brady, Covington, Girard, Goshen, Graham, Huston, Karthaus, Lawrence (the Plymptonville precinct), Pine, Sandy and Union; and the borough of Falls Creek.