Campus Currents

Reasons for Optimism

Vice President Al Gore may be a presidential candidate, but he sounded like a seasoned parent as well when delivering the May commencement address to the Class of 1999.

Pointing to New Hampshire's economic growth, Gore said, "When I came here seven years ago in the election year 1992, New Hampshire was losing more than 10,000 jobs a year. Today, our economy is the strongest ever, with more than 16,000 jobs created here each year."

On a glorious New England spring day, the 2,400 new graduates and 20,000 guests seemed as buoyant as the balloons dancing in the breeze. Student body president Keith Levitsky '99 thanked "the 150 or so who offered to help me write these remarks, in exchange for being mentioned in the opening." Several rows of black-gowned students jumped up, laughing, to acknowledge their proposal.

Gore's remarks turned somber when he reminded the audience of another May graduation, at Columbine High School. "What can we do, all of us, to build a future in which all children choose good over evil?" he asked. "A future in which all children feel loved, connected, and embrace the right values?" Much needs to be done, he said, to change "a toxic culture that too often glorifies violence and cruelty."

A former divinity student, Gore added, "I believe in hope over despair, striving over resignation, faith over cynicism.

"And above all, I believe in you. When I look out at all of you, I see 2,400 of the greatest reasons for faith and optimism we could ever know."

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