Commencement – Beginning – The Start – Coming Out – Commencement is much more than a ceremony; it’s the day when graduates leave the confined world of learning for the open and uncertain world of application. A good commencement speech clarifies, motivates, explains, congratulates and warns. An excellent commencement speech gives the graduating class a sense of culture to bolster them when the going gets tough, and there will be times that it surely will.
Romney gave an excellent commencement speech when he addressed Liberty University’s Graduating Class of 2012 with these words:
“You enter a world with civilizations and economies that are far from equal. Harvard historian David Landes devoted his lifelong study to understanding why some civilizations rise, and why others falter. His conclusion: Culture makes all the difference. Not natural resources, not geography, but what people believe and value. Central to America’s rise to global leadership is our Judeo-Christian tradition, with its vision of the goodness and possibilities of every life.
The American culture promotes personal responsibility, the dignity of work, the value of education, the merit of service, devotion to a purpose greater than self, and, at the foundation, the pre-eminence of the family.
The power of these values is evidenced by a Brookings Institution study that Senator Rick Santorum brought to my attention. For those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and marry before they have their first child, the probability that they will be poor is 2%. But, if those things are absent, 76% will be poor. Culture matters.
As fundamental as these principles are, they may become topics of democratic debate. So it is today with the enduring institution of marriage. Marriage is a relationship between one man and one woman.”
It’s not Reaganesque in style, but it’s Reaganesque in essential substance. Here is more.
“Moral certainty, clear standards, and a commitment to spiritual ideals will set you apart in a world that searches for meaning.
[Y]our values will not always be the object of public admiration. In fact, the more you live by your beliefs, the more you will endure the censure of the world. Christianity is not the faith of the complacent, the comfortable or of the timid. It demands and creates heroic souls like Wesley, Wilberforce, Bonhoeffer, John Paul the Second, and Billy Graham. Each showed, in their own way, the relentless and powerful influence of the message of Jesus Christ. May that be your guide.”
This man Romney is looking better every day.