Privilege and Responsibility

June 15, 2004

Inside Tulane

It's not uncommon to hear remarks about privilege and responsibility during commencement ceremonies, but the theme was particularly poignant as it was touched upon by all major speakers during this year's graduation ceremony.

When commencement speaker Sen. John Breaux likened the audience before him to Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation," which came of age during the turbulence of World War II, who could escape the unspoken reference to current world events?

Minutes earlier, Tulane President Scott Cowen had challenged graduates to find a way to use their talents, energy and education to "to forge a path for others less fortunate so our world does not continually implode and divide itself between the haves and have nots."

And in an eloquent address to her peers, class speaker Kate Earle reminded the audience that they had collectively experienced the tragedy of 9-11, the sadness of the space shuttle disaster and the horror of war, adding that "...we have simultaneously become aware that our stellar educations have afforded us great responsibility to society as we leave our academic shell."
Even more than its pomp and splendor, the power of commencement is in its affirmation and renewal of the mission of educators.



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