Wearing a cap and gown, just like the sea of students sitting in front of him, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad offered some advice Friday to the graduating class of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport.

“Your opportunities are boundless,” the governor said during graduation ceremonies at Vickie Anne Palmer Hall. “Dream big.

“It’s important to plan, but don’t limit yourself. Be prepared for whatever life throws in your path.”

Branstad was the keynote speaker at the graduation, where he said 128 were awarded degrees in four areas: associate of science in chiropractic technology and bachelor of science, master of science and doctor of chiropractic.

Palmer Provost Daniel J. Weinert said the graduates hailed from 27 different states and seven countries, including Canada, France, Hungary, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom.

After a bagpipes player led the procession of students and faculty onto the auditorium floor, Branstad told the group that their chiropractic careers and families likely will dominate their lives.

“But remember your community, too,” he said. “It’s important for a healthy, thriving culture that you find time to give back.”

The governor said Iowa recently launched an initiative to help make it the healthiest state in the nation. He encouraged Palmer graduates to emphasize healthy living to their chiropractic patients.

He also offered this advice: Work hard. Always tell the truth. Treat everyone with respect and dignity. 

“Remember you have to live with your decisions,” he said. “Choose wisely.”

He told the graduates to continue holding high expectations for themselves and “do what matters to you.”

“Life is short,” he said. “Make the most of it.”