Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood Impart Words of Wisdom — and Sing! — at 2018 UGA Commencement [WATCH]
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood returned to their alma mater, the University of Georgia, on Friday (May 4) to address the college's Class of 2018. The two artists were this year's undergraduate commencement speakers, and they treated the graduating class of more than 4,500 students to some words of wisdom ... and a little music.
Both Kelley and Haywood received bachelor's degrees in business administration from UGA in 2004. It was in their senior year, Haywood shared with the crowd, that the two men began writing music together; they both got jobs in the business world post-graduation, but they kept writing music together when the could, until Kelley's brother Josh convinced them both to move to Nashville a couple years later.
“There was a bit of a risk for us to go to Nashville, but at the same time ... it wasn’t really that big of a risk at all. It was a calculated risk," Haywood shared. "Now you have a degree and now you can take a big risk because you have an amazing diploma ... Be open to things you haven’t even dreamed of.”
As Haywood pointed out, he and Kelley didn't come to college wanting to be country artists; instead, they were open to new ideas and experiences, and that's where they wound up. It's a point Kelley stressed during his remarks as well.
"There is more than one clear path and direction," Kelley said, before concluding his speech with: "Good luck. I wish you all well, I hope you can find your dream job, but just be happy, find your purpose, [and] be nice to mom and dad."
Kelley and Haywood ended their commencement remarks with a rendition of Ray Charles' "Georgia on My Mind." "We felt like we had to sing for our supper," Kelley admitted before launching into the classic song as Haywood accompanied him on guitar. Readers can press play above to see their performance, or watch their full speeches below.
"Congrats @UniversityofGA Class of 2018!" Kelley and Haywood tweeted after the ceremony. "Such an honor to come back to our old stomping grounds and give this year's commencement speech. GO DAWGS!!"
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