GETTYSBURG, Pa. - TV journalists Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt spoke as a duo to 607 graduates May 17 at Gettysburg College's Commencement Exercises, charging them with optimism for the future, despite today's bleak financial climate.
"You are entering the world after college in the worst economic and financial crisis since the Great Depression. Most of you would have to reach back to great-grandparents for a parallel," said Woodruff. "But whatever the uncertainties, do not be discouraged. You are all too good. Whether from the United States or countries abroad, the graduates of Gettysburg College are in a position to prove the naysayers wrong."
Hunt followed Woodruff's remarks by reminding the graduates that out of failure comes much success.
"Try to think of anyone who has achieved something important, something durable, that has not suffered a major failure. Remember that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and Winston Churchill flunked sixth grade," said Hunt. "To make a difference, to do something big, requires a boldness of aspiration, a willingness to think and act big, to take real risks, which courts failure. The pursuit of a life of excellence is not defined by the fame or the riches you achieve; it is defined by the contribution you make. And if you do that, those inevitable failures as well as the economically challenging times of 2009 will seem a dim and distant past."
Sunday's Commencement was the 174th at Gettysburg College, a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences. In addition to Woodruff and Hunt, recipients of honorary degrees were Carol Bellamy, a 1963 Gettysburg College graduate who has served as director of both the Peace Corps and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and is president and CEO of World Learning, and Simon Schama, a professor of art history and history at Columbia University, will also receive honorary degrees. Lauren Meehan, Class of 2009, served as the student speaker and William Parker, a chemistry professor, received the Gettysburg College Award for Distinguished Teaching.
Simon Schama and Carol Bellamy '63
Photos, videos, and copies of remarks are available online.
With a student body of approximately 2,600, Gettysburg College is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania. The college was founded in 1832.
Posted: Sun, 17 May 2009
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