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SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2005

Actress gives UA grads tips for success

TUSCALOOSA (AP) — Award-winning actress Sela Ward's path to success after her cheerleading days at The University of Alabama had some obstacles, but she said she drew strength from them.

"I want to remind you that luck and opportunity are like gold nuggets in a river — they are available to everyone. You have to look for them, you have to believe in their presence and notice them. Make sure you are not walking around with your eyes wide shut, blaming others," Ward said in a commencement speech Saturday at her alma mater.

The university awarded about 2,400 degrees in ceremonies Friday and Saturday. Ward received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Ward, best known for her award-winning portrayals as Lily Sammler on "Once and Again" and Teddy Reed on "Sisters," is a 1977 graduate of the university's College of Communication and Information Sciences.

She received two Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe for her work on "Once and Again" and "Sisters."

"I stand here, representing what every one of you can achieve in your own way, and I assure you that the gap between us is not as wide as you might think and truly not as formidable or difficult to bridge as you may fear," Ward said. "The obstacles and the potential for setbacks are there, but they are part of what will strengthen you. And, if you pay attention, you will learn and grow from them."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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