During Saint Anselm College's 121st commencement exercises on Saturday, May 17, commencement speaker Bob Schieffer addressed 417 members of the class of 2014, and Dr. Steven DiSalvo presided over his first commencement as president.
Dr. DiSalvo thanked the class for making his first year at Saint Anselm a special one, and reminded the graduands that no matter where their journeys take them, they are always welcome on campus. He advised graduates, "While the world around us may move at a rapid speed, I urge you to remember all of those Saint Anselm hours, and find time to cultivate those habits that made your time with us so special."
Bob Schieffer, the award-winning journalist who was the anchor and moderator of the CBS News' Sunday broadcast, "Face the Nation," recalled his many visits to New Hampshire, starting during the 1976 presidential primary season. He has covered nine primaries in the state, and last visited Saint Anselm College in 2007.
NEWS: "Graduates Urged to Demand More from Politics" (College Communications and Marketing)
NEWS: "Journalist Schieffer urges St. A grads to challenge themselves, others" (N.H. Union Leader)
BLOG: "A Message to the Class of 2014" from Dr. DiSalvo, President of the College
VIDEO: Watch the One Hundred and Twenty-First Commencent Exercises in their entirety.
SOCIAL: Tag your Instagram photos and Tweets with #SAC14 -- Retweets and photos are compiled on our social media hub, social.anselm.edu
Photos: Commencement 2014
Speeches & Remarks
Emily M. Donovan - Student Address
President DiSalvo, Abbot Mark, the Benedictine community, members of the Board of Trustees, honorary degree recipients, faculty, staff, parents, relatives and friends and my fellow classmates of the class of 2014, this may be Saint Anselm's 121st commencement, but it is our first!
We have worked many long days for this, but ultimately it was four short years. Congratulations! Look around you. No really, look! Because this is a day we will never forget. When big moments happen in our lives, we always remember exactly where we were and what we were doing. I'm sure we all remember the first time we were all together as the class of 2014.
The start of freshman orientation. Four years ago, our lives changed for the better. Four years ago, on this very quad we are all sitting on, Matt Shaw welcomed us for the first time together as a class. Four years ago, we said goodbye to our parents, nervous and excited for the first night away at college. We looked around anxiously at the faces of strangers sitting near us that would soon become the faces of some our best and life long friends.
Four years ago, we didn't think the next four years would go by as fast as they did. We were nervous and awkward freshmen still fresh off the summer of 2010 singing along to "Tik Tok" by Kesha. We met up with our orientation groups on different segments of the quad unsure of who was going to be the first person to introduce themselves and break the silence. We felt the green grass of the quad between our toes for the first time when we took our shoes off to frantically butt-spell our names for the other members of our group. Everyone knows that you butt spell better when you're barefoot. We ate our first college meal on the football field back when it was still real grass. Then we ate again later that night because the smell of fries from the coffee shop was just too amazing to pass up. We laughed so hard tears came to our eyes the next night when Kelsey Ouellette and Matt Santello got hypnotized. And when Father Jonathon raised our class banner at the orientation dinner, we became a class.
We all smiled at our new banner at the front of Davison Hall for the next year, knowing what it represented. That was us. Who knew we would see that same banner at the end of the hall four years later and feel something a little different?
Over our four years here, we began to see our home here for what is really is. Sure the food here is good, but it isn't the food that made this place our home. It's teachers who become not just teachers, but friends. People who take the time to get to know you and ask how you are every time you see them, even if you haven't taken a class with them since freshman year.
How many other schools have professors like Jaime Orrego, who take the time to talk to you not only to ask how you are doing, but how the rest of your family is doing as well? The faculty here are not nameplates by doorways. I mean how many people would subject themselves to taking Great Books Greek Literature if Professor Latona wasn't the teacher? I wouldn't have!
At how many other schools would the Dean and Associate Dean of students force you to eat candy after midnight? Am I the only one who had a stomach ache the day after Relay for Life because Dean Finn and Dean Litz handed out so many Twizzlers and chocolate bars?
And the monastic community isn't just scary men dressed in all black; they are our mentors and leaders of faith and life. And on some occasion, they are also members of your pub trivia team and help you answer the tricky questions. At how many other schools would the Abbot of the monastery grab a brew with you in the pub and have you laughing all night until your cheeks hurt?
Now do you remember when you first imagined this place becoming your home? Do you all remember getting your acceptance letter in the mail? Opening up that fat envelop and seeing the words "Dear Joe" or "Dear Lauren" and then reading further and seeing the words "Congratulations! You have been accepted to Saint Anselm College!" Remember how excited you were to receive that letter? Well I wasn't.
My sister was already here at Saint Anselm as a member of the class of 2012. I don't know what I had in mind, but I wanted to go anywhere but Saint Anselm College. But, my dad knew where I belonged, and if you knew my father, you would know how I ended up here. My sister liked Saint A's, but my father LOVED Saint A's. He hadn't had the opportunity to go to college when he was younger, and when his first daughter became a member of the Saint Anselm Community, so did he. He loved this school, from the students playing Frisbee on the quad to the prayers in the Abbey Church. He knew his way around campus, especially the cafeteria. He actually introduced me to Tammy, the woman who cooks on the grill.
It was easy for my dad to love this school. He never had to take a midterm, let alone five midterms in three days. He never had to sit through a humanities lecture when the aroma of buffalo chicken wrap action station carried over to the Dana Center. He never had to stress about taking Professor Lucas' linguistics final exam, and he never had to wait 45 minutes to load a 7 minute YouTube video that had to be watched for homework. And he certainly never had to climb through a window to visit a friend after inter-visitation hours -- to borrow their humanities book of course.
Here's how I found out I was coming to Saint Anselm. I was away on vacation with my friends and still torn between three schools. I received a call from my father telling me that he mailed in the check and I was going to Saint A's. This is just one of the many instances in my life where father knew best. Today, I cannot picture myself anywhere else. Isn't it good for all of us that our parents were smarter than we were, when we were 18?
Through all of our experiences, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, through things we now understand and things we still cannot put into words, we have gained so much. Collectively and individually, we have also had our share of losses. As for me, I lost the man who brought me here.
While I flourished here on the Hilltop, my father became gravely ill. During the weeks and months of his suffering, I received incredible support, especially from Fr. Anselm, after whom this school is named. A few days before my father's passing, Fr. Anselm came down to our house for some lunch and to give my father one final blessing.
When my father died this past February, Fr. Anselm was the first person our family called. Do you need to know any more about the strength of this community? At my father's wake, dozens of flowers had come from different offices and members of the Saint Anselm Community. Over half of the people who came to pay respects were Anselmians.
Things happen for a reason. And my father's death yielded yet one more Anselmian. My father's one wish was to see my brother get accepted into Saint Anselm College, and he was able to do so. He wasn't able to see all three of us graduate from Saint A's, but he did live to see all of us become hawks. And at his wake my brother turned to me to say "I am so happy I decided on Saint A's."
In August my brother can dig his nervous toes into this grass and butt-spell his name. But today it still belongs to us. So next time you are outside, take a look around. That room four flights up in Alumni when you were already late for class. The cubical in Geisel Library where you slept the night before your exam. The Perini Lecture Hall where you almost passed out when Dr. Jay brought in that heart from the deer he had killed the night before.
Soon, we will be out in this big, scary world. Four years from now . . . who knows? Maybe Lyndsay Robinson will be the first female President of the United States? Maybe Billy Gemmell will be on MTV and hopefully Tom Gardner will still have us all laughing with whatever he is doing. Some, our lives are taking us far and wide. Others will be staying in a familiar zip code. But no matter what, we will always find a home at the Hilltop. We are Anselmian now and Anselmian always, and my father would want you all to know what a precious gift that is. And trust me, father knows best. Thank you and congratulations to the class of 2014!
Faculty Award - American Association of University Professors, Presented by Beth Salerno, Ph.D.
Each year at graduation the campus chapter of the American Association of University Professors recognizes one member of this talented faculty for particular excellence in teaching and scholarship, contributions to the academic community through active and positive relations with colleagues and students, and an involved concern for humanity.
This year's recipient has particularly excelled in their willingness and ability to serve others. Whenever a complex, politically sensitive, and crucially important task arises that needs faculty input, administrators and colleagues alike call on our recipient. The person has been elected by their colleagues to four terms on the Faculty Senate, has helped to hire colleagues at every level from the departmental to the Presidential, and has even chaired a department other than their own when need arose.
This faculty member also serves the community beyond the college. They have given talks to Women's Clubs, and worked with Theatre Kapow to help them write and shape a new play about dreams. She has also served Catholic education, serving on the Board of Directors for Villa Augustina, an independent Catholic school in Goffstown NH.
Her service has not precluded her from staying active in her field of Romantic and Victorian English literature. She has published multiple articles and book chapters on the novels of Thomas Hardy and Antonia White, on good girls, convent novels, and courtship rituals. She has presented her work in England, Ireland, France and Canada, and has served as co-host for a major international conference on Dickens here at the College.
Our recipient's impact on students has been huge. Students praise her careful help with their writing in freshman English and her careful training in textual analysis in upper level English courses. She has been a strong supporter of undergraduate research through her founding of the annual Mind Over Major conference and support of SOAR (Showcasing Our Arts and Research). She has championed student writing in her many roles related to that including Director of Freshman Composition and now the Director of College Writing. She may be best known to students for her Darwin and Virginia Woolf Humanities lectures, or the Christmas story/poetry reading in the pub. She is best known to faculty for her wicked sense of humor and ability to find every misplaced comma.
I am honored to present the 2014 AAUP Award for Excellence in Faculty Accomplishment to Professor of English Meoghan B. Cronin.
Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo - President's Address
Dear Members of the Class of 2014, Family and Friends, Abbott Mark Cooper and Members of the Monastic Community, Madame Chair and Members of the Board of Trustees, Mr. Schieffer, Mr. Meelia and Sister Sheila,
It gives me great pride to welcome you to the 121st Commencement at Saint Anselm College. What an honor it is to be presiding at my first commencement here on the hilltop. Our time together has been brief, but the quality of our collective experience has been extraordinary. One word can best describe the journey over the past 48 months: That word is Transformative.
You arrived four years ago with great expectations and a bundle of energy. You will leave campus today having fulfilled a dream, having made discoveries about the human condition while celebrating your lifelong commitment to serve others. You began as an individual trying to find your way amongst the crowd and today you stand as an active, valued member of a vibrant community. You are no longer the young person that set foot on this campus four years ago. You have blossomed into a mature adult ready to conquer the world. You have been transformed.
Let us celebrate the outcome today, but also give pause to reflect on the journey. There have been a myriad of sacrifices along this chartered course. Hundreds of hours spent studying. Endless evenings playing pub trivia with monks. Months on end competing on the field, the court, the course, the ice. Countless service trips. There was time spent working and time spent serving. And lives have been changed along the way too. While some families have lost loved ones over the past four years, their spirits are surely with us today.
During the past year, you welcomed me and my family to the campus community and together we shared some memorable moments. You helped me carry boxes into the residence halls during freshman move-in day. We barbecued together in the uppers, although I required Guy Sergi to be my food taster. I visited a Winter Break Alternative group here in Manchester. We celebrated athletic victories and had a few laughs at open skate night. I listened to members of the choir sing with their angelic voices and experienced Broadway caliber student talent in the Dana Center. I learned about Anselmian hospitality as you toured families on campus and hosted them during open houses that had record attendance. You welcomed politicians and media to the Institute of Politics and painted your faces during the nationally televised basketball game on CBS Sports Network. We toasted one another at the Senior formal and lowered your class banner in Davison. I even made a last minute trip to the Bell Tower and printed my name next to some of yours. Our time together may have been brief, but our collective experience will not be forgotten. I will forever be grateful to your class for making my first year at Saint Anselm College so very special.
This world that we are journeying through seems to become more and more complex with each passing day. Technology permits the movement of information at lightning speed. Texting and tweeting are no longer fads, but rather commonplace modes of communication- even for those of us of older generations, who used to call home from college on a hallway pay phone. We live in a global society where studying away from home, whether domestic or foreign, enhances our appreciation of our freedom. And we respect the political process with a seat on the sideline of arguably the greatest political stage in the world.
While the world around us may move at a rapid speed, I urge you to remember all of those Saint Anselm hours, and find time to cultivate those habits that made your time with us so special. Many issues have been resolved over dinner at Davison. Whether it was late night studying, gingerbread house construction, or discussing who you should take to the senior formal, your table became a central part of the day. Don't ever forget the value of sitting down with your family or your friends for a meal. We try to eat together at my house most nights. Of course, my wife, Eileen, has learned not to yell "Dinner's ready!"- Instead, she sends a text message.
Another hallmark of your experience over these past few years has been your spiritual development. If you take a moment to reflect on this, it is easy to point out the obvious: we are truly blessed by the presence of Benedictine monks who lead by example. But there are other influencers in your lives here that may often be overlooked when we think about our charism - and I am proud to say that your class did something exceptional this year, something which demonstrates inarguably that you understand this: you honored those who serve you on campus, in the resident halls and in our dining facilities each and every day. At first glance, they may appear to simply cook and clean. But they do much more than that; they have cared for you as if you were their own children. I don't need to tell you to remember to thank those around you - not just because they can bake better than anyone on the planet - but because of the love and care that goes into making those whoopee pies!
But of course, these years that have shaped you would never have been the same without the support of your loved ones. They share in your joy today. I recall when I finished my master's degree and contemplated whether or not I should attend the ceremony. I was working full time and finally had a weekend to myself. I told one of my classmates that I was probably going to skip out on the ceremony. She looked me right in the eye, grabbed my shirt collar, and said, "This is not about you. It is about those who love you." So today, I am going to ask you to do one thing: say thank you to your parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins, best friends. Explain why their support means so much to you. In your life journey, beyond these walls and this campus, do not forget always to thank those closest to you for all that they give and all that you share.
All of you have experienced challenges along the way, and for some of you, this journey has been an especially difficult one. There have been academic challenges, financial constraints, personal losses, and much more. Yet the college experience mirrors those you will have in the "real world." You will be faced with similar hurdles in the years to come, and because of these four years, you will be better prepared to deal with them. Obtaining a Saint Anselm degree is not designed to be an easy task. In fact, the rigor is what makes us exceptional. It is the reason our alumni are sought after by Fortune 100 companies, major healthcare providers, and top tier graduate schools. It is the reason one of you received a full scholarship to enroll in a PhD program at Harvard and another is the travelling to Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. It is the reason that our alum and former Board Chair, the current CEO of the Boston Globe, was asked to give a commencement speech at this very moment at a Catholic college in Easton, Massachusetts. It is the reason that our president emeritus is the commencement speaker today at a college in Henniker, New Hampshire. Saint Anselm graduates are sought after, even by our competitors. So while the road behind you may not have been completely smooth, there is no doubt in my mind that what lies ahead is stellar.
When you leave campus today, you will have turned a page on an amazing chapter in your life, and will continue to write your story in new places among new people. But I hope you remember that no matter where your journey takes you, you are always welcome here. You may be leaving the ranks of the student body, but you are now and forever entering the alumni community. Please take with you what you have learned during these years: A strong work ethic and a capacity to think critically and communicate certainly. But more than that. Find time to share a meal with your family. Always recognize those who serve you, for it will help you better serve others. And tell those around you how much you love them and thank them for their support.
By now you have heard me say that at Saint Anselm College, we make history where history is being made every day. We are Anselmian Strong. We show Anselmian love. We are Forever Anselmians.
I leave you with one final thought: College is for four years. Saint Anselm College is forever. May God continue to guide and bless you in all that you do. Thank you.
Bob Schieffer - Commencement Address
Distinguished guests, members of the faculty, proud parents and grandparents, and surprised brothers and sisters who never thought these guys were smart enough to get this done and of course, to the members of the graduating class of 2014...welcome and congratulations.
It is fun to be back in New Hampshire where I can truthfully say I have had some of the best times in my life. I was last on campus in August of 2007 when I interviewed John Edwards who made a good case about why he should be president. He later of course would make a much better case why he shouldn't.
I came to New Hampshire for the first time in 1972, I came to my first primary here in 1976, and I've been here for every one since-that's nine of them, and as Roy Rogers used to say "if Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise" I'll be here for the next one in 2016.
Because I immediately think of politics when I think of your good state, I want to start today the way the late Helen Thomas would start. Helen was the first reporter I met when I came to Washington, we covered a lot of campaigns together and we covered the White House together when Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford were there.
On day in 1975, when President Ford was there, it was announced that Henry Kissinger who was then the National security Advisor and Secretary of State would be coming to the White House briefing room to give a backgrounder.
The press secretary told us Kissinger had only 20 minutes, not a second more and we would have to be content with that.
Kissinger, ever the ham, said, "Well, I am a college professor, I'm used to talking for 40 minutes, I don't know if I can do it in 20 minutes." To which Helen responded, "Then start at the end!"
So let me start at the end-the lead to this story-the most important thing to say is this:
Graduation is a day that holds special meaning for each of us-parents, faculty, students, even the graduation speaker.
May I first say to the Moms and Dads: this is your day too.
What a feeling it is to know that you are the parent of a college graduate. I am the father of two of them-and I tell you when they walked across that stage, I felt like...well, to tell the truth, I felt like I had just gotten a substantial pay raise.
May I also say to the graduates, until you sit where your parents sit today and see your own children walk across the stage, you'll never know how proud they are. So can we just stop here for a minute and say thank you to the parents.
And since I am a few years and miles down the road ahead of you, may I offer one piece of advice to all the parents here: stay on good terms with your kids. The most important thing for you to remember today is your kids are the ones who will pick the nursing home.
I also have a confession. A graduation speech is one of the easiest speeches there is to make becase there is no pressure. I have been to a lot of graduations in my time and I can say this with certainty: no one has ever remembered anything a graduation speaker says.
I can't even remember who spoke at my graduation-let alone the words of wisdom that were imparted.
There is a reason for that. Graduation is not about what someone says. It is about what you have done. So you will not remember much of what is said here.
But you will always remember this day.
All of your adult lives you have been students. For the past four years-for some of you a longer time-you have been students at Saint Anselm.
But when you leave here today, you will be graduates of Saint Anselm.
And that has a nice ring doesn't it?
It's also a little scary but it's supposed to be. I know because long ago and far away at a place called Texas Christian University I wore a cap and down as you do.
That was in 1959 in Fort Worth. I am going to make another confession-I did not graduate magna cum laude.
For me it was "thank you lawdy!"
I felt all of the emotions that each of you feels today and another emotion that perhaps you don't feel-I was terrified.
For this too, there was a good reason. I had specialized in Spanish-not majored in it but specialized, taking it, dropping it, taking it, dropping it. In the end I had to take four years and one other time in summer school just to fulfill the two-year requirement.
The final grades had been mailed but not posted by graduation day, and even as I stood in line to receive my diploma, I was worried that I would be pulled out of line and told I hadn't passed the final semester Spanish course.
So for me, graduation day was a religious experience. I discovered there was a God.
Kindly old Dr. Rominengi who had been my Spanish professor apparently believed that mercy took precedence over justice or maybe he was just tired of fooling me...but he gave me the C I needed to graduate. I am sure he would be not only pleased but surprised that someone with my academic record would be asked some day to speak to a commencement.
So in Dr. Rominengi's honor may I just say, Gracias a Dios!
So, now that you have reached this milestone, what's next? I wish I could tell you otherwise but you are graduating into a dangerous world at a time when technological revolution is bombarding us with more information than we can process and a time when our political system is broke and our government stands in perpetual gridlock.
We rail against Washington, but it is not Washington that is broken, it is the entire political system. No one doubts the seriousness of the problems that confront our country at home and abroad, yet as the problems grow worse, the government remains immobilized often unable to take actions even when both sides agree that something ought to be done.
Every year, we see the serious people in government saying they've had enough-as Maine's Senator Olympia Snow said last year.
When I was a child, my grandmother thought I would grow up to be president because that is what all grandmothers thought their grandchildren would grow up to be. But I ask you this: how long has it been since you have heard a grandmother say, I hope my grandchild grows up to be a politician?
You are more likely to hear someone ask the recipe for the airline food. (Did you ever hear anyone ask for the recipe to airline food by the way?)
To me, that is the most serious indictment of all, when people come to believe that being in politics is not only less than honorable but a waste of time.
How did we get from there to here. To explain why I believe that has happened, let me go back to another time-1948, Lyndon Johnson was running for United States Senate and we heard he was coming for the vacant lot where we played baseball on the North Side of Fort Worth. I was 11 years old and it was a big event and so my dad took me down to see him.
The reason it was a big event was that we heard he was coming in a helicopter and we had never seen a helicopter...and then there it was this airplane without wings and over this electronic bullhorn, this voice in the sky:
"This is Lyndon Johnson and I'll be down to see you in a minute." And then it landed in a swirl of dust and he got out, made a rousing speech, and at the end threw his hat in the crowd, boarded the helicopter and flew away. What a scene.
I told the story years later to Jake Pickle who was a long time Texas Congressman and he said, "Oh yes, that was my job in the campaign. I was the hat catcher." And he said, yes, Lyndon was the tightest man on Earth.
He was going to waste a hat on a political rally so it was my job to drive to where ever that chopper was going to land, I'd get in the front row and when he saw me he'd throw the hat to me, then I'd run around to the back of the chopper, give it to him and they'd fly off to the next stop.
I love that story because it is such a contrast to the politics of today. In those days, people who helped and ran campaigns had real jobs.
They helped because they liked the candidate, or thought they would get something out of it or they just liked politics.
Today we have outsourced all the jobs they used to do for free to enormous hoard of consultants, gurus, strategists and I don't know what else, they have grown into an enormous multi-billion dollar cottage industry that has made American politics the most expensive politics in the world.
As this cottage industry grew it was the beginning of the great divide that has come to separate those who run for office and those they purport to serve.
When LBJ came to our neighborhood, we got to see him but he got to see us. Today's politician depends on consultants to tell them who the people are they purport to represent. Public rallies are seldom held, they are no longer economically worthwhile.
You can learn a lot about people reading polls and statistics about them, but you'll never know them as well as when you look into their faces. That's why I still like to come to New Hampshire, where politicians still have to get out and actually meet people. Sadly, what happens here has become an almost unique experience.
Here's the worst part, when people who used to do all this for free were on the winning side, they shared the thrill of victory and what comes with the winning. But when they lost they had to go back into the community and live with the loss and all the things that were said during the campaign.
Today, the consultant designs the nastiest of campaigns but if it doesn't work, they just collect the money and move on to the next community and the next campaign. They don't have to live with it.
That is why we have the campaigns today that leave us all so ashamed. There is no penalty for dirty campaigns.
The even worse part is that this has made running for office so expensive, that in order to raise the money to run, candidates must sign off with so many interest groups before they get to Washington, that once there they are unable to compromise.
And a legislative body that cannot compromise is what we have today, a body incapable of accomplishing anything.
But it doesn't stop there. The relentless drive to raise more and more money means that most office holders spend it at least a third and in many cases half their time calling people and begging them for money-day in and day out, year in and year out-and most serious people don't want to spend their lives that way.
That is how we got where we are today and we are not the better for it.
Because the political system has become so ineffective, we have to expect very little from it.
When the two parties announced last month what they WOULDN'T be doing this year - no entitlement reform, no tax reform, no immigration reform, it was the earliest start to doing nothing that we've experienced in recent years.
But it caused hardly a ripple, the conventional wisdom was "well, it's an election year, nothing gets done in an election year."
Well, since when? This year we celebrated one of the most monumental pieces of legislation in American history - the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1964 was an election year. And it was deep into that election year, July, when they finally got it done.
Because Lyndon Johnson said, "That's what the presidency is for."
Can we fix the political mess in which we find ourselves? I believe we can. But it won't be my generation that does it - we had our chance - it will be yours.
So I urge you to turn to public service and not away from it, not because it is easy but because it is hard. You must demand more from our politics and yourselves.
Perhaps the way to begin that task is to remember that in difficult times, America always found a way. Approach this task not in despair but by taking heart in how we can to be the country we are.
In our finest hours we put partisanship aside and accomplished great things. It is time to put aside the notion that the purpose of holding office is to find ways to stay there by doing nothing.
The founders didn't worry much about how to avoid getting a primary opponent, they worried that they would be hanged if their idea didn't work.
Remember as well that as tangled up as our politics is today, it has been tangled up before - yet when we step back, we realize that most of the change we experienced at the close of the 20th Century was for the good.
Think of this: not so long ago, during my life-time, my parents' generation confronted and defeated the greatest evil the world has ever known.
When I sat where you sit no black person had ever attended a school that I attended.
In just my lifetime, humans left the planet for the first time.
When my daughters entered college, millions of people lived under Communist dictatorships. By the time they had both graduated, the Soviet Union had collapsed.
We have a long way to go but we have come a long way.
For all the bad news, the human spirit still prevail, here and abroad but it does so only so longa s good people are there to nourish and defend it.
Americans have always been willing to do that. It will only be when we cease to see that as our responsibility, that America will cease to be.
As you leave here today, many of you will find yourselves under enormous pressure - to make something of yourself. To be successful. But I believe you'll be happier if you just find something you like to do and set about doing it. If you're good at it, the success part will take care of itself. And the main reason you ought to do anything is because it's fun.
Don't worry too much at this point about making mistakes, you have plenty of time to try something else. It's when you get to be my age that you have to be careful. At your age don't be afraid to take a flier. What you don't want it to be my age and say, I really wish I had tried this or that back then. I might have pulled it off. Try it, you'll find out if you can do it. If you can't you'll know you did your best.
Remember and treasure those who encouraged you to follow your dreams - they are your true friends. And forget those who tried to talk you out of it. They are not worth worrying about.
And in this age of contradictions where it's so hard to believe in anything, believe in yourself. You can do that by remembering why you feel so good today.
It's not because you have a piece of paper that says you've graduated.
It's because you set out to do something and you did it.
It's because you have enriched your intellect by learning things you didn't know and because you enriched your life with the friendships that always come from a shared experience of a worthwhile task.
The most important thing you learned over these past four years in probably what you learned about yourself.
So do your best, expect much of yourself and remember always true greatness comes not from the battles we win but the battles we choose to fight.
You'll soon forget what I said today, but you'll remember always what you felt today.
I think you. The world needs you. May God bless you.