Bill Snyder told graduates during K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning and Design commencement Saturday to focus on principles and the goals they set for themselves.

The former K-State football coach served as commencement speaker for the graduation ceremony.

Tim de Noble, the dean of the college, said in his introduction the school picked K-State’s former head football coach because of his values, sincerity and warmth. De Noble even joked there was another reason they picked Snyder.

“He’s been called the ‘architect’ of the greatest turnaround in college football history,” de Noble said. “He changed the ‘landscape’ of football through careful ‘planning.’ He also worked on ‘interior’ linemen.”

Snyder took the opportunity to tell students they should surround themselves with individuals who care about them and who will help them meet their goals. He said there were three ways to achieve their goals — defining their priorities, making a plan for achievement and have perseverance. He also warned them against becoming part of the “instant gratification” generation.

“Consistent improvement is a byline of the program,” he said. “Every day, take a step forward and make a little improvement. … When you procrastinate to another day, it gets easier to continue. Each and every day, work to become better and success will find you.”

He told students setting goals was not only important for their futures, but normal.

“100% of people have goals established,” he said. “Less than 50% of people, of all of us in this room, have a plan how to achieve those goals. Only 5% achieve the goals we set.”

Snyder told students to utilize the tools they have, including their educations and their professors.

“I encourage you to value the relationships you define in your life, that will guide and direct you,” he said.

He said he knew the graduates have had expectations placed on them since they were young — “go to school, be a good person, etc.” — but reminded them that self-imposed limitations can be harmful.

“You can do anything you desire if you work hard, have a plan and work hard at achieving your goals,” Snyder said.

After Snyder, de Noble gave the Distinguished Service Award to Emmy Chamberlin, a 2009 graduate of the college who works as the project manager for K-State’s Division of Facilities, campus planning and project management team. She has worked on project teams for the renovation of West Memorial Stadium and the college’s renovation and expansion project.

Students graduating from the school received their combined bachelor’s and masters degree in one of four disciplines — architecture, interior architecture and product design, landscape architecture or regional and community planning.

Several students, selected by their peers, also got to give some closing remarks to their peers. Students included Ryan Pelarski, master of architecture graduate; Maggie Schulte, master of interior architecture and product design graduate; Mackenzie Wendling, master of landscape architecture graduate; and Samantha Estabrook, master of regional and community planning graduate.

Through tears, Schulte told her peers that she was grateful to know her fellow graduates, and told them she hoped they all remembered the journey.

“I’m proud to know you,” she said. “I’m excited to watch what you do. Bring on the future, I know you’re more than capable. Thank you for the laughter and the lessons. Best of luck to each of you.”