June 11, 2000 U.N. Ambassador Holbrooke addresses graduates.
Geneva, NY – Richard C. Holbrooke, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, delivered the Commencement address at Hobart and William Smith Colleges today calling on the Classes of 2000 to give part of their lives to service to others.
“It doesn't have to be overseas or in government…give something of yourself to a cause. We are too rich and powerful a country not to give. There are disadvantaged people all over the country and the world,” said Ambassador Holbrook, who also received an honorary degree from the Colleges during the two-hour ceremony. He went on to single out Africa as an area of the world that needs assistance, citing the AIDS epidemic that plagues the continent.
Commencement 2000 marked the 175th Commencement for Hobart College and the 89th Commencement for William Smith College. Four hundred and fifteen students graduated-221 William Smith graduates and 194 Hobart graduates–during the Commencement exercises that began at 9:30 a.m. this morning outside on the Hobart Quadrangle. The graduates were ushered to the Quad by the Mohawk Valley Frasers, a bagpipe ensemble.
Michael Harms illustrates his cooking analogy
Senior speakers included Hobart College senior Michael Harms, of Scotia, N.Y., who playfully donned a white chef's hat and held a spatula as he compared the breadth of experiences in his liberal arts education to the ingredients in cooking.
Ekaterina Papaioannou, of Astoria, N.Y., and Erin Zipfel, of Ithaca, N.Y., who jointly delivered the William Smith address, reflected on their lives today compared to four years ago. “With the help of the opportunities offered to us by this institution, we became empowered through our own actions,” Zipfel said.
Erin Zipfel, one of the two William Smith Commencement speakers
Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, offered a motivating farewell address to the Classes of 2000. He called on the graduates to make a difference in the world through service and to use their voices to call upon what they believe is right. His words echoed those offered by John J. Chapman, who delivered the Commencement address in 1900. “Always, always speak out and stand up for what you believe in,” said Gearan, as he concluded, receiving a standing ovation.
During the ceremony, an honorary degree was also given to Hobart and William Smith Trustees Judith Haslam Cross. Cross graduated from William Smith in 1952 with a degree in English, and for the past 40 years has exhibited a limitless commitment to Hobart and William Smith. The chief example: membership in the Board of Trustees from 1984 until 1992, including service as Board vice-chair.
Ambassador Holbrooke was selected as Commencement speaker and as the Doctor of Humane Letters degree recipient in recognition of his many years advancing the causes of international peace and cooperation. His career evidences two values that the Colleges both foster and applaud: public service and internationalism. During his career, Holbrooke has been a professional diplomat, a magazine editor, an author, a Peace Corps country director, the chairman of two important non-government organizations, and an investment banker. He is also the author of To End a War (1998) and co-author of Counsel to the President (1991), as well as numerous articles on foreign policy. Holbrooke is also the father of David Holbrooke, a 1987 Hobart graduate.
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