OPED: To the Class of 2019: Dream Large
Members of the Class of 2019 at Fairfield University and Sacred Heart University were wrapping up classes and exams this week, ready (or not?) to confront their futures.
We caught a glimpse of some happy soon-to-be grads, dressed proudly in their caps and gowns, as we drove down Park Avenue in front of the SHU campus Tuesday.
And at Fairfield U., where my two daughters are students, dorms were being vacated for the summer and students were finishing up their last exams.
Technology reigns at our local universities these days, with students able to use “the cloud” to file term papers, check their schedules, and sign up for classes.
A far cry from my days at Fairfield U., Class of 1973, when class tests had to be hand-written, single-spaced, in the school’s 12-page “blue books.”
The blue books also made an appearance during final exams, held in the Campus Center Oak Room, where 100 or so lecture desks were set up and proctors roamed the isles to make sure students didn’t exceed their allotted time.
Surprising, in view of all the political turmoil and anti-war demonstrations that had taaken place during my years at Fairfield U., our commencement speaker that year was Dean Rusk, U.S. Secretary of State in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, who was widely viewed as one of the architects of the Vietnam War.
There were no demonstrations against Rusk during the ceremonies. He gave an interesting address, accepted an honorary degree from the university president, and moved on, as did we all.
One wonders, given all the political discord in the country these days, whether politicians of both parties will be able to put aside their differences so easily. It’s hard to imagine any members of the Trump administration being greeted without vociferous demonstrations on campuses in 2019.
Members of the Class of 2019 will make those decisions in the future. For the moment, finding jobs that meet their burdensome school loans, and careers that match their interests, are most on their minds.
The world is theirs to shape. The future is theirs. Our advice to the Class of 2019: Dream Large.