Steve Marshall talks professionalism, passion

Luke Brantley

Staff Writer

Alabama Attorney General Steven Marshall spoke to Troy students on Thursday, April 18, as part of the Gibson Vance Distinguished Lecturer Series, focusing on the importance of learning to become a professional.

Gibson Vance, an attorney and a member of Troy University’s Board of Trustees, founded the lecture series and invited Marshall to speak. 

Instead of speaking specifically about practicing law or law enforcement, Marshall spoke about how he applied the lessons he learned through his career to all professions. 

Marshall said one of the keys to becoming a professional is finding your passion. He described two things he said gave him passion.

One was a case that Marshall prosecuted as the District Attorney of Marshall County. The case involved a couple charged with murdering their 1-year-old child named Uriel Hernandez.

The other is a wedding picture of him and his wife, who died last summer.

“What is your Uriel, and what is your wedding picture?” Marshall asked, urging students to seek out their motivation in life.

Throughout his speech, Marshall used a combination of humorous and serious video clips (ranging from “Talladega Nights” to “A Few Good Men”) and photos from cases he’d been involved with as illustrations for the points he was making.  

Marshall also said it’s important to be committed, citing another case he prosecuted that involved a respected but corrupt police officer. 

“If we had phoned it in, then he would have never been held accountable,” Marshall said. 

Marshall also encouraged students to set a high standard of excellence for themselves in whatever profession they choose. 

“If you want to be impactful, make sure you set that standard high,” he said. 

Marshall told students to always look for opportunities to create change for those who need it. 

“It’s going to be in those people in your life that you touch that your legacy will live on,” he said. 

“I wish every Troy student could have heard General Marshall’s presentation,” said Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr., the chancellor of Troy University. “It spoke to the virtues of dedication, commitment and tenacity that lead to success no matter which fields our graduates choose.”

“I thought he was a very professional speaker,” said Matthew Dortch, a junior criminal justice major from Birmingham. “I learned the need for integrity and the passion it requires.”

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