excerpts from Robert Egger's remarks
You are at the forefront of the most diverse generation in the history of our country...a generation 60 million strong....a generation that has been raised doing community service, pushing "green polices", demanding fare trade coffee, launching social enterprise, supporting micro-credit, and buying Tom's shoes.
People have asked if I am going to speak to you today about the need to "give back". Why would I do that? Look at what you have created here. Look what members of your generational cohort are doing across this country and around the world. You are the first generation in our country's history that is exploring the power of giving up front. You are the generation who will refuse to choose between "doing good" or "making money"....between .com and .org.
Some of you harbor dreams of obtaining great wealth, other of helping to spur great change---my advice to you today----they are not mutually exclusive. You can do both. Dare I say....you must.
You have been called Generation Next...but I must respectfully disagree with that timeline. From where I stand, looking out at you today, and knowing from personal experience, having working side by side with so many of you who are graduating today....you are Generation NOW. You country needs you NOW. The world needs you NOW. Do not wait for permission to change the world. Be respectful of your elders, honor their work, but do not limit your imagination to the world you inherit today.
It is every generation's right to redraw the map, rearrange the order of things...to create new rules. That's what generations past died fighting to preserve....what people from around the world come to these hollowed battlefields to honor....and it's what makes America, even today, the richest country in the world...the fact that each new generation has the expectation AND the freedom to do better, be bolder, run further and push harder. Our country needs your impossible dreams...born of the exhilarating, boundless optimism so fully of display today. Hold on to them. Never let them go. OWN them. Make that spirit of NOW your generation's banner, your motto, your creed---and step boldly forward, together, today, and help turn another page in our country's great history.