Commencement Season

Written on: May 10, 2011 | 5 Comments

In my 40 years on University campuses, I have participated in many commencement exercises and sat through too many commencement addresses!  The best ones are brief, inspiring, and leave you something to think about.  On Friday I heard such a speech.  I was honored to be part of the exercises at Long Island University. The beautiful C.W. Post campus, former estate of Marjorie Merriweather Post, was the setting on a perfect Spring day.   President David J. Steinberg congratulated the graduates and their families, urged them to go forth and do good, and posed seven questions for them to contemplate.  I hope that they will do so on a regular basis throughout their lives.  As I hope that day’s audience does-as I will.

Dr. Steinberg’s questions:

  • Can you truly appreciate and engage in our culture and era, even while genuinely respecting peoples from other places or from older times?
  • Can you discern the truth when you hear it and know when you are listening to rot?
  • Can you find a career path that makes you fulfilled personally and allows you to make a contribution to society?
  • Can you appreciate beauty and seek to fill your life with it?
  • Can you really know yourself, including your strengths and frailties that others, both friend and foe, probably see?
  • Have you found the capacity to love others with the same intensity that you love yourself?
  • Have you truly grappled with and made some order out of critical existential questions, including your own ethical and personal standards, which will give direction to your life and allow you to face your own mortality?

Questions to ponder.

5 Responses to “Commencement Season”

  1. Marvin Pinkert said:

    37 years ago Dr. Steinberg was my professor, 30 years ago he was my advisor and mentor and 23 years ago he was my boss…he never stopped asking me tough questions. And I owe much of what I value in this world to my ongoing stuggle to find answers to his challenges. I hope that at least some of the graduates will take his words to heart.

    Congratulations on the honorary degree.


    (May 10, 2011 at 1:44 pm)

  2. Maureen said:

    Great set of questions. . . for everyone!


    (May 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm)

  3. Dorothy Dougherty said:

    I remember Dr. Steinberg speaking at my commencment ceremony many years ago at C.W. Post. I was inspired then and now again after reading his latest questions. Thanks for sharing such important queries to think on.


    (May 12, 2011 at 10:54 am)

  4. Joan McCann said:

    Congrats on more honors! We hope to see you at NYPL’s Centennial!


    (May 15, 2011 at 10:09 am)

  5. David Ferriero said:

    Thanks, everyone!


    (May 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm)