Campus News

Remarks made by Paul P. Brountas '54 upon receiving an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Bowdoin's 192nd CommencementMay 24, 1997

Story posted May 24, 1997

Yesterday, I had the honor to address the Class of 1997 at the Baccalaureate. Today, therefore, I intend to limit my remarks to a few brief thoughts and observations.

As a result of my service to the College over the past many years, I have had the great privilege to participate in several Bowdoin commencements and to share in the joy of the exceptional Bowdoin graduates who have preceded you and the pride of their families.

This is a day of celebration, a day of accomplishment, and a day that you will always remember. For many of you, Bowdoin will continue after this day to be an important part of your life. You will leave this College today; but this campus, your friends and classmates, your professors, your successes and even your disappointments will remain embedded in your memory and in your heart -and will influence much of what you do in the future.

Bowdoin has always been a very special place for me: It taught me to accept risks; it prepared me to dare to be better than I ever believed I could be; it emboldened me; and it made me realize that sadness comes not from having tried and failed, but from never having tried at all.

So, I leave you with this one additional prescription. You have the right and the knowledge to challenge the conventional wisdom of past generations; and you have the responsibility and the tools to right the wrongs of the past and to make the future better. Use that knowledge and power and exercise that responsibility wisely. And in so doing, you will define your future not by the mournful refrain often heard today - "It is but hadn't ought to be." But by the joyous chorus that proudly acclaims - "It is and that's the way it ought to be."

Over the years, I have had the good fortune to receive more than my share of recognition. But no recognition means more to me than the honor that Bowdoin has accorded me today. I am profoundly grateful.

Thank you, President Edwards, thank you Bowdoin College, thank you Lynn, and thank you members of the Class of 1997 for sharing your day with me.

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