“It is a very great honor for me to come here today to accept this degree and, with it, membership in the distinguished ranks of Marquette alumni.”
With that introduction, then-U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy stirred the Class of 1964 at Commencement on June 7, 1964, with remarks that recognized Marquette’s academic history and the “outstanding performance in the Peace Corps of Marquette graduates like Barbara Olsen, Mike Shea and Rocky Santos.”
He continued: “Labels for college generations are always risky. … But I think it is fair to describe yours as a generation of unusually genuine and intense concern with social justice and intellectual freedom.
… You will be part of the mere 9 percent of Americans with college degrees. … You, the beneficiaries of the best training our society can provide, have a particular obligation to be useful, an added responsibility for the welfare of society. Certainly you will be concerned with the quality of schools — but let that concern extend beyond the schools your own children attend. Certainly you will be concerned with juvenile delinquency, but let your concern extend beyond the criticism to the treatment of the social conditions in your community that breed delinquency. It is not enough in these times to lend your talents to your job, to raising a family and to leading a self-sufficient, pleasant life. You, with the advantage of a college education and with the spirit of freedom and human dignity it releases, must participate wholeheartedly in politics, government and community affairs.” • JMM
“You don’t ever have to do anything sensational in order to love or to be loved. The real drama of life (that which matters most) is rarely center stage or in the spotlight. In fact, it has nothing to do with IQs and honors and the fancy outsides of life. What really nourishes our souls is the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the foundation of our very being is good stuff.”
“There are absolutely no successful shortcuts to success in life. Cheating for whatever reason and in any field is wrong and is at best a temporary solution to a greater problem. At some point, quick fixes will come back to haunt you and might destroy your body and your dreams. Great or small, your accomplishments thus far will follow you for years to come. For what you do with your life and how you do it is not only a reflection on you, but on your family and all those institutions that helped make you who you are.”