Opinion: Calls to post-graduation action


Tis the season, the graduation season, that is. Just as surely as leaves erupt from barren trees, notices, announcements and invitations burst from our mailboxes carrying tidings of matriculation. Adults, children and young adults of our friends, business associates and family are marking the end of some component of their formal education. Kudos to them. The pursuit of knowledge is always a good thing.

Like all matters, many of the traditions surrounding these events have changed. We find ourselves stuffing the congratulatory envelopes with more cash than a few years back and guests at the ceremonies are just as likely to wear shorts and flipflops as neckties. But still, the graduates themselves don the slightly ridiculous mortarboard cap and long robe. They march in line, receive diplomas and other recognitions and move the tassel dangling from the square academic hat from right to left signifying attainment of their degree. Even more, the speechifying, recognitions and charges to those assembled have largely remained unscathed by the passing years.

Faculty and staff make final remarks to fully mint their nascent progeny. Dignitaries drawn from community leaders and exemplar alumni take the podium to impart their accumulated wisdom. Sometimes, they are poignant, entertaining, inspiring and memorable. Sometimes, they are not. Almost always, there is a charge to the gathered class.  “Go forth and…” is the general idea. It is in these words that we find reflected our current trends. Go forth and prosper. Go forth and contribute. Go forth and be vulnerable. Go forth and embrace change. Go forth and defend tradition. Go forth and build a fortune to donate to this school.

Each of the varied and disparate from above reflect speeches heard just this year. Some miss the mark and others are on target. Given the microphone, what would we say?    


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