Encourages students to accomplish something meaningful

BOSTON — Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray urged graduates of Merrimack College recently to find their passion and be an “accomplisher.”

“Isn’t that what we all want to be and to do?” said McGillivray, president and founder of DMSE Sports who has raised millions for charity. “Set goals, work hard and accomplish something, anything. Pretty simple, huh? Nothing, I mean nothing, can make you feel better than that. Do something meaningful.”

McGillivray delivered the commencement address to Merrimack College graduates at the school’s 62nd commencement ceremony on May 20 and also received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Public Service.

A graduate of Merrimack himself, McGillivray last addressed graduates as the valedictorian of his class in 1976.

After giving up his boyhood dream of playing second base for the Boston Red Sox, McGillivray said he discovered later in life that what he really was most passionate about what being an “accomplisher.”

“There is no reason not to follow your heart. Just try. Don’t settle for less. Find what you love,” said McGillivray, who counts two cross-country runs among his inspirational feats to raise money for charity. “I am convinced that the greatest single determinant of your success will be passion. Passion has driven me towards all of the best decisions in my life. All that it takes is a little courage and a little guts."

McGillivray also told the students “just being here was a defining moment in my life…Defining moments, they happen all the time to us. You just have to recognize and take advantage of them. When I walked out these doors myself, I began to realize that there really was no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an exam and you are finished with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning… As I walked out those doors, I realized how fortunate I was simply to get an education…I trust just like you do. Not everyone gets that chance. In fact, all of us here today have something in common - we woke up this morning. Not everyone else did. We are truly blessed and are the lucky ones.”

McGillivray encouraged graduates to live their lives by their own rules.

“My mantra has always been, 'It is my game, so it is my rules.' I have learned to do what I want, not what others may want me to do. Our time is limited here, so don’t waste it living someone else's life,” he said. 

McGillivray, a Medford, Massachusetts, native who lives in North Andover, Massachusetts, is president and founder of DMSE, Inc. – Dave McGillivray Sports Enterprises, also known as DMSE Sports. Now in its 31st year, DMSE Sports specializes in creating, marketing and producing mass participatory athletic events throughout the U.S. and abroad. DMSE ( manages more than 30 races a year, including the B.A.A. Boston Marathon, the TD Beach to Beacon 10K in Maine, the New Balance Falmouth Road Race on Cape Cod, the Run Gloucester! 7-Mile Road Race and the Bellin Run in Green Bay, Wisconsin.