World-renowned singer and songwriter Judy Collins shares message of service while captivating the audience with song.
May 11, 2002 GENEVA, N.Y.—Judy Collins broke into song amid giving the Baccalaureate address to the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Classes of 2002 this afternoon. The lyrics to the traditional hymn “Amazing Grace” filled the expansive field house of the Robert A. Bristol Sport and Recreation Center as she sang and invited the audience to join her. Collins likened “Amazing Grace” to the energy and inspiration of everyone who can make good in the world, which she encouraged the students to continue pursuing.
“I always thought the song carried the theme of service. Miracles happen and you have to believe in miracles to live joyfully,” Collins said. “Beauty, joy and solutions are a part of service—don’t forget the joy.”
Collins went on to talk about finding silver linings in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks. “Out of great tragedy comes transcendence,” Collins said.
Collins was selected as Baccalaureate speaker largely for her activism in aid of others over the years. Collins has recently introduced two new Judy Collins Signature Edition guitars, in six and 12 string versions, and royalties from the sale of the guitars will be split between two of Collins’ favorite organizations, UNICEF and Amnesty International.
She was introduced by Mark D. Gearan, president of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, who has known the artist for many years.
“We wanted a speaker who could inspire and challenge us all,” said Gearan. “In word and deed, Judy Collins has spent time advocating for issues she believes in.”
Collins is scheduled to receive an honorary degree from Hobart and William Smith Colleges tomorrow during Commencement exercises that will begin at 10:30 a.m. on May 12, on the Hobart Quadrangle or in the Field House in case of rain. During the ceremony, 167 men will receive degrees from Hobart, and 256 women will receive degrees from William Smith. CNN’s Mark Shields will deliver the Commencement address. The public is invited to attend.