A Great Commencement!

Last week we celebrated a child’s graduation from business school. It was a very emotional and enjoyable experience.

The celebration was online, which was a bit of a disappointment. Essentially, a photo of each graduate appeared on screen and names were read. I feel that the extraordinary cost of said education is so great that parents deserve to sit among thousands of others in the scorching heat for three hours and watch the dean hand their children a diploma. It was not to be because of the damn COVID pandemic. I hope and pray that future graduates and their parents are not deprived of this momentous experience.

I prepared myself to hear ubiquitous ranting by ultra-liberal administrators, deans and selected students. Given what has taken place recently, I expected a full-fledged attack about how America is no longer as great as it was because of income inequality, too many affluent people, too many poor people, overzealous police activities, racism, nativism and support of Israel. I must apologize to the university, the administration and the students because this was not what took place.

The principal speaker, a CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, spoke about his career and the responsibility of all businesses to be diverse, fair with employees, concerned with the environment and to speak up against injustice when it arises anywhere in the world. I thought the presentation was appropriate, balanced and inspirational.

Speeches were also made by the President of the University and Dean of the College. Both were informative for the graduates and parents. Of course, they encouraged the graduates to “make something happen,” a common theme throughout the day. The quid pro quo for all this education should be a vow by graduates to strive for greatness in an area they are passionate about. Entrepreneurship and social consciousness were themes of all the presenters.

The student speakers were outstanding orators. One gave a lecture in Latin. Maybe two or three people knew what he was saying, but fortunately, subtitles were provided. The young man could have been addressing Julius Caesar and the Senators in Roman. I wondered how long it took him to memorize and hone his presentation.

The most eloquent speech was offered to us by a Shakespearean connoisseur who could, and probably has, played a major role in one or more of the Bard’s plays.

The event was noteworthy for what did not take place. There was very little bitterness and resentment. There was practically no bashing of one political group or another. Significant issues were gently and tastefully touched upon as one would expect in a bastion of liberal thought and achievement.

I award the graduation ceremony an A plus. I didn’t perspire or feel uncomfortable in the heat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the encouragement for the graduates to be great and make a real contribution to society.

The spirit and attitude of the speech-givers and the recipient students was a welcomed divergence from the destructive politicization of societal issues taking place every day in our nation’s capital and around the country. I hope that a number of graduates someday take the place of self-centered political hacks that today represent us in Congress and other parts of the government. My optimism has been restored to an extent.  

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