Welcome to the Wittenberg Alumni Association, class of 2002!
About the only sound they didn't hear, thankfully, is that of raindrops hitting the tops of their mortar board caps. More than a week of rain threatened to drive the ceremony indoors. Judging by the sounds from the more than 2,500 friends and family present, unseasonably chilly weather didn't cool their enthusiasm.
"I asked what my duties might be today and was told it had been raining all week so if I could just bring out a bit of sunshine, that would be terrific," said Bill Press, co-host of CNN's Crossfire for six years, in his commencement address. Just then, an impressive ray of light appeared from the clouds. "How's this?" he said to a round of thunderous applause.
Senior Class President Geoffrey McGovern grins as he recalls fond memories of his time at Wittenberg.
Paraphrasing words from Martin Luther, Press urged the graduates to 'sin boldly.' He encouraged everyone to "Live boldly, dream boldly, love boldly - whatever you do, don't do it half way." He said to consider the plan before the action and ask the question, "what is the purpose of little dreams?"
Prior to the address by Press, Senior Class President Geoffrey McGovern, a political science major from Williamsville, N.Y. told the crowd that he had too many defining moments to list in the four years he has been at Wittenberg and he encouraged all his classmates to look back and find your own defining moments and carry them with you the rest of your life.
Michael John Root, Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Cols, Ohio, is presented a Doctorate of Humane Letters honorary degree.
Commencement Speaker, Bill Press, receives an honorary degree, a Doctorate of Humane Letters, just prior to giving his address.
President of the University, Baird Tipson, expressed hope that while at Wittenberg every student has found a vocation because "we are what we love." "Just as our faculty have devoted their lives to interesting young people in political science, music, mathematics, it is very important to choose what you love."
In finding a vocation that exemplifies devotion and courage, Press spoke about the events of September 2001. He recalled seeing a poignant handmade sign on a visit to ground zero. The sign was taped to a fire station and read 'you ran in when we ran out, we are forever grateful.'
"Make this country even greater than it already is, rush into life with your hearts on fire," Press said. "We're counting on you, God bless America."
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