Posted on Sunday, May 16, 2010
"Today, a new generation, represented right here, has been called upon to change the world," said President of Refugees International Daniel Glickman, who delivered the 2010 Commencement Address at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
"There's a notion that you have to choose between your career and ideals," he said. "That's not the case. Looking out here, I see all this amazing potential and a road that's open to you."
Discussing the different ways to serve, in all walks of life - from education to show business - Glickman, former chair and chief executive officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, cited people such as comedians Stephen Colbert and Bob Hope, who engage while they entertain, serve while they work and enjoy what they do.
The same has been true of Glickman's career. As a champion in the fight against hunger in the United States and around the world, Glickman represented Kansas for 18 years as a member of Congress. He was a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Judiciary Committee. As chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, he held open hearings to bring the intelligence community's post-Cold War activities to light and began a committee investigation into the Aldrich Ames espionage case. In 1995, President William J. Clinton appointed Glickman as Secretary of Agriculture.
As president of Refugees International, Glickman is focused on strengthening the organization's base of support and providing the strategic vision and leadership to improve its ability to compel world leaders to provide clean water, food, health care and other basic assistance to people uprooted by conflict.
Recalling Hope's famous commencement speech in which, warning graduates of the hazards of the world, he gave them two words of advice ("Don't go!"), Glickman said to this year's HWS graduates, "My advice to you is the opposite of Bob Hope's-my advice is to go! But take your idealism with you, cherish it and let it grow."
In his Valedictory Address, Colleges President Mark D. Gearan continued the theme of possibility through change, advising graduates with an old maxim about leadership from West Point:"Care more than others think is wise. Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible."
David Butterini '10 and Meghan Schmidt '10 also addressed the crowd of graduates, family and friends on the Hobart Quad, both recalling the memorable time and positive impact Hobart and William Smith had on the Classes of 2010.
"I'm sure all of you have had your own turning points while at HWS, moments where your life's path took a direction that none of you saw coming," said Butterini. "Such is life. Embrace the challenges the gate keepers of the world throw at you."
"Classes of 2010, your college degrees are currency," Schmidt said. "Challenge their worth. The more committed you are to understanding the complexity of your potential, the more you will begin to pay forward your college education. In respecting your education, you accept the responsibility to serve others with what you have learned."
On behalf of the Colleges' Board of Trustees, Gearan presented honorary degrees to Arthur O. Eve P'89 for his service as a New York State Assemblyman and his establishment of Higher Educational Opportunity Programs throughout the state; to George and Harriet McDonald for their tireless work on behalf of the homeless through the Doe Fund; to Patricia Heieck P'88 for selfless decades of service to HWS as the campus catering manager; and to Glickman for his long record of global service.
Gearan also recognized James F. Caird '56, who, after joining the U.S. Army, had to miss his own graduation ceremony and never had his name called as part of Commencement. During this year's Commencement exercises, Gearan noted Caird's many accomplishments since graduation and the difference he has made to Hobart and William Smith Colleges. Caird received a standing ovation from the thousands of graduates and families filling the Quad.
Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees Maureen Collins Zupan '72, P'09 honored two educators who have dedicated their lives to the service of others. Alyce Kosofsky, a teacher in the Poughkeepsie School District, nominated by Clifford Gardner '10, and Sandra Behan, a teacher at the Canterbury School, nominated by Morgan Hopkins '10, received the 2010 Touching the Future Awards.
This ceremony was the 99th Commencement of William Smith College and the 185th of Hobart College. The Classes of 2010 include 235 Hobart seniors and 261 William Smith seniors with bachelor's degrees, seven Master of Arts in Teaching degrees, and one Ontario ARC College Experience Certificate.
Again echoing the possibilities ahead of this year's graduates, Gearan concluded the Commencement ceremony, saying, "Live the life you've imagined."