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Following hard work, graduates reap the rewards

Values, enrichment stressed at college rites

By Sean Teehan
Globe Correspondent / May 23, 2011

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Students at more than 10 Massachusetts higher-education institutions received diplomas yesterday.

Media luminaries and university presidents delivered most of the commencement addresses to graduates on the culmination of their college careers.

Here are what some had to say to the class of 2011:

Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, speaking at Tufts University’s commencement, pointed to the tasks facing this generation.

“Your challenges are greater because they are huge; they are complex; and they are global. . . . And frankly, your challenges are greater because the powers of rationality, civility, and political will have been losing their currency in the United States,’’ he said.

“You must counter these trends, and use your best talents and intentions to build a healthier, more just and equitable world.’’

At Brandeis University’s commencement, speaker David Brooks, an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, spoke about career success and then said that was not the source of happiness in life.

“Over the next several years you will be compelled to go hunting for commitments. . . . For example, you will be called upon to commit yourself to a husband or a wife. . . .

“This is the most important commitment you will face over the course of your hunt. If you have a great career and a bad marriage, you will be miserable. If you have a great marriage and a bad career, you will be joyful.’’

Jeff Glor, news anchor for CBS’s “The Early Show,’’ encouraged Suffolk University grads to broaden and enrich their lives as well as pursuing careers.

“Make time for things that take time. I say this because I know today all of us are surrounded by information, by potential pursuits, right? Friends, family, TV, magazines, books, cellphones, BlackBerrys, online, Facebook, Twitter. So much more.

“There is now never a lack of options . . . . Sometimes the best option is to eliminate options. Make time for things that take time.’’

Katie Couric, exiting anchor and managing editor of the “CBS Evening News,’’ told graduates at Boston University that she was proudest of the work she has done on behalf of cancer research and that rewards in life lie in doing good.

“I’ve learned that doing good . . . feels good. You are young and naive enough to believe that you can change the world . . . and the beautiful thing about youthful idealism is . . . you can.’’