World-renowned journalists Judy Woodruff and Albert R. Hunt delivered back-to-back Commencement addresses during the May 13 ceremony celebrated at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. The pair sent off the Classes of 2007 with lessons learned from their more than 70 combined years of reporting on major events around the globe.
Woodruff, in her address, paid tribute to the graduates, a group she and her colleagues designated “Generation Next.” She commended the age group for their commitment to their families, their futures and their communities.
“You're already setting records by your civic engagement. There is as high a percentage of Generation Nexters who are doing volunteer and community work as any other generation alive,” said Woodruff. “You need no lectures from Commencement speakers about caring for your fellow men and women.”
When his turn came, Hunt drew from his own 40-year career in journalism, warning graduates that they can't succeed without taking risks. Hunt also encouraged the seniors to remember the good company they are in-from Winston Churchill to Henry -when they fail.
“Remember, as important as it is to have goals and objectives and dreams, life is serendipitous,” said Hunt. “When fate happens … be ready to seize the moment, to fully embrace new challenges and opportunities.”
In his valedictory address, Colleges President Mark D. Gearan reminded the graduates that they frequently had seen dedication during their time at the Colleges, including the personal commitment of the faculty, the staff and their fellow classmates, as well as the celebratory dedications of newly constructed and renovated buildings.
“I ask you to think about the dedication you have seen here and the worlds of experience you have been afforded. Today, you are among the most privileged people on the planet, for only 1 percent of the world has what you now have: a college degree,” Gearan said. “Dedicate yourself to lives of consequence.”
During the ceremony, Woodruff and Hunt each received honorary doctor of humane letters degrees, recognizing their extraordinary careers in the media. State Senator Michael F. Nozzolio (R-Fayette), a tireless supporter of the fiscal and environmental protection of the Finger Lakes region, and Geneva Community Lunch Program coordinator Marge Shanahan, a pillar of the community who has devoted herself to feeding the less fortunate, were also awarded honorary doctorates.
During the ceremony, bachelor's degrees were presented to 209 Hobart graduates and 233 William Smith graduates. The Colleges' Master of Arts in Teaching degrees were awarded to 9 future educators.
A story about the ceremony, from the Monday, May 14 issue of the Finger Lakes Times, is available here.
High resolution photos of Woodruff, Hunt and Gearan are available at http://dev.hws.edu/g/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&g2_itemId=74261.