Mix of speakers enriches commencement experience

The events that mark commencement at Emory are many and varied. Each individual school celebrates in its own way, with dinners and awards ceremonies, receptions and concerts, and diploma ceremonies. Excerpts from addresses given at some of those events capture that spirit and help provide a more complete picture of commencement.

Emory College Baccalaureate
Rebecca Chopp, Dean of the Faculty and Academic Affairs, School of Theology

"Here we are, with Daniel and Ruth, two quite different stories of courage. Ruth stands for all that we have learned at Emory about courage as requiring us to risk all that we have and all that we do to see things differently. Daniel tells us no matter where we are led, courage entails keeping true to the past. . . .

You will face the possibilities of new lands, new discoveries, new ways of being. And Ruth will go with you . . . whenever you forsake the old and create the new.

You will face the furnace and the lions. Indeed, your knowledge of traditions that form and shape your lives may well lead you into the fire, and hopefully the traditions will keep you unsinged, and those named Daniel will be beside you."

Oxford College Commencement
George Jones, Professor of Biology

"Solving the world's problems will require vision. It will involve looking beyond what we are to see what we can become. . . . The composition of this year's graduating class at Oxford is evidence that the world is indeed a better place than it was 30 years ago. In 1963, I would guess that I would not have been able to give the graduating address at Oxford College. America is a better place than it was. But because of men and women of vision, we can at least see that solutions are possible."

Business School Awards Ceremony
Jeffrey Snow, CEO, HiFi Buys

"You must adapt to and understand that living in a constant state of flux is now the norm, not the unusual. So how do you live with this change? . . . The first step is to listen. Listen. And listen some more when your employees, employers and co-workers are talking. . . . The world is littered with companies and industries that didn't listen. Just ask the makers of the eight-track tape players and the Swiss watch industry. . . . Change also demands that you keep up your education. . . . It's really easy to write a paper on how to turn a company around. It's quite another thing to do just that when your financial future and livelihood is at stake. . . . Don't get stuck and rest on the laurels of your Emory degree."

School of Public Health Diploma Ceremony
David Satcher, Director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"Public health is global. We live in a global village. It's a lesson in public health we can never afford to forget. . . . Shortly after being appointed at CDC, I held a round table discussion with teenagers in Africa, and they asked me many hard questions. And then I asked them, `Why do teenagers engage in such high risk behaviors increasingly?' They responded, `Have you heard that in Africa, it takes a whole village to raise a child? As Africa becomes more and more urbanized, can you tell us where our village is?' One of our real challenges in public health is to reestablish community."

Law School Diploma Ceremony
Morris B. Abram, Civil Rights Activist and Honorary Degree Recipient

"As an example of a respected judge, I am reminded of Oliver Wendell Holmes, a justice of the United States Supreme Court from 1904 to 1931. When I was in law school he was an icon of American liberalism, and deservedly so. He said nothing preserves the country more than the free debate of ideas. . . . He believed that the legislature represents the people, not the courts. The courts represent the law, but the people are represented by the legislature. . . . We need to ensure that there be popular sovereignty, so that as Justice Holmes said, legislatures are the ultimate judges of the liberties of the people."

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