Hunger activist Robert Egger calls Gettysburg graduates “Generation Now”
Hunger-combating activist Robert Egger, president and founder of D.C. Central Kitchen in Washington, D.C., spoke to 631 graduates May 16 at Gettysburg College's Commencement Exercises, charging them not to accept the world as they have inherited it and to "do good and make money."
"You are the forefront of America's most diverse generation ever - 60 million strong. Your generation has been raised doing community service," Egger said. "Not since World War II has a generation answered the call to service in the numbers as this generation. The stakes for our country have never been higher."
"Some would call you ‘Generation Next.' I must disagree with that. From where I stand, you are ‘Generation Now.' This country needs you now. This world needs you now. Behind you are millions of younger peers who are looking to you to break new ground," Egger said.
"Now some of you harbor dreams of attaining great individual wealth. Others helping to spur great social movements. My advice is to do to both. Dare I say you must," Egger said. "In too many graduations across America, we are asking you to choose between being a .com or a .org. Do you want to do good deeds, or do you want to make money? Defy that. Boldly go forward with this idea that you can do both. It is every generation's right to redraw the map, to reorder things, and create new rules."
"Our country needs your impossible dreams. Hold on to those dreams. Never let them go. Own them. Make them your individual creed. America needs you to hold on to your glorious optimism. Don't think you need to trade that for a paycheck," Egger said.
"America needs to move beyond the notion that we can 'give back' our way out of these situations we are in. We need you to redefine the whole concept to live a good life. What it means to be a Gettysburg grad," Egger said.
His charge: "Today, go forth. Be daring, be brave, be respectful of convention, but impatient with process. Be a friend with friends. And never ever stop believing in your ability, and this country's promise. Good luck Class of 2010. Rock the world."
Student speaker Lawrese Brown '10 also encouraged her classmates to act on their dreams and take initiative.
"We are a class of leaders because we know that leadership is action, not position; we are a collection of dreamers because we see challenges as options and not impossibility; we are a compilation of achievers, because we possess unparalleled initiative. For the past four years Gettysburg College has implored us to do great work, and our class has done them one better," Brown said.
"My experiences and opportunities at Gettysburg have given me the strength to answer people with any projection about who I should be, with a proclamation about who I am" Brown said.
President Janet Morgan Riggs '77 offered her charge and parting words to the Class of 2010.
"It is easy to assume that someone else will do what needs to be done to solve a problem, to resolve a conflict, to improve the human condition. But you have received a Gettysburg College education and that education is among the best offered in this country. Now and into the future, it's your responsibility to put that education to good use. And you should do so with confidence. You have the capacity to solve the problems; you have the capacity to resolve the conflicts; you have the capacity to improve this world," Riggs said.
"My charge to you is simple really. Do not pass the buck. Step up and take responsibility. And when you do step up, do so with humility, with compassion, and with integrity. It is your time to shine."
Sunday's Commencement was the 175th at Gettysburg College, a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences.
In addition to Egger receiving a Doctor of Public Service, honorary degrees will be presented to three individuals who are accomplished in their fields. The individuals and their degrees include: Edwin Bearss, who served as chief historian for the National Parks Service, Doctor of Humane Letters; Todd DeGarmo, president of the international design firm STUDIOS Architecture, Doctor of Fine Arts; and Donna Schaper, senior minister of the Judson Memorial Church in New York, Doctor of Divinity.
Charlotte Armster, a German and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies professor, received the Gettysburg College Award for Distinguished Teaching. James ‘69 and Enid (Wedemeyer) '69 Corkran received the Lavern H. Brenneman Award for Exemplary Alumni Service.
By: Kendra Martin, director of media relations
Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.
Posted: Sun, 16 May 2010
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