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Whitman Commencement 2004: Graduates Urged To Be "Fearless"

WALLA WALLA, Wash.—Whitman College’s Commencement 2004 on Sunday, May 23, featured some 350 recipients of bachelors of arts degrees and a commencement address by Harvard Professor Michael Ignatieff, who urged the graduates to “try to be one of the fearless ones” in today’s fearful world.

Ignatieff, director of the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, is an internationally known author, historian, philosopher and commentator on world affairs. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Whitman at the ceremonies. Noted artists Dale Chihuly and Deborah Butterfield received honorary doctors of humanities degrees.

Ignatieff delivered “Living Fearlessly in a Fearful World” under cloudy skies to members of the class of 2004, their families and friends, and faculty, staff and visitors seated on chairs and bleachers on the Memorial Hall lawn. In his speech, he noted that although the United States is a great country, “it is currently feared and hated by millions of people throughout the world.”

There is only one way to deal with these millions of people who wish us harm, he said, and that is to “live the way we are supposed to live, as our Constitution demands us to, with dignity and respect for all.” Ignatieff then praised Army Specialist Joseph Darby, the young reservist in the 372nd Military Police Company who disclosed the truth about what was happening in the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Darby, said Ignatieff, is “one of the fearless ones,” and urged those present to try to follow his lead in their lives ahead.

Whitman President Tom Cronin concluded the ceremonies with remarks that complemented Ignateiff’s, noting that “Freedom and responsibility—they come together. That’s the deal.”

CONTACT: Lenel Parish, Whitman College News Service, (509) 527-5156
Emial: parishlj@whitman.edu

Published on May 26, 2004
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