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Responsibility, education, endings, social justice, challenges






This time of year, we’re all thinking about beginnings and endings. You’re graduating and preparing to start anew. We’re saying goodbye to you and getting ready to say hello to a newly admitted class. And, in a way, the messages are the same. In fact, the themes I raised with many of you as first-year undergraduates at our 2006 opening convocation, right here in the Dome, still apply as you leave here as graduates. So if you’d indulge me, I’d like to fast forward from then to now. When you arrived on campus, I asked you to rethink the popular image of education as a preparation for life. As the British author Rose Tremain said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” and this is also true in education. As we say at Syracuse, you’ve been preparing for the world in the world. This is a necessity because it’s very difficult to predict what’s coming next, let alone prepare for it from afar. Regardless of whether it repeats itself, history is only a partial guide, and we are continually confronted unexpectedly with challenges that bear a sad resemblance to the past.


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