Lucchino Urges Boston University Grads to Fight Injustice & Celebrate Diversity

in Commencement, News Releases
May 18th, 2008

Contact: Colin Riley, 617-353-2240 | criley@bu.edu

(Boston) – Speaking to over 6,200 Boston University graduates and 20,000 guests at today’s 135th commencement at Nickerson Field, Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino exhorted the Class of 2008 to remember the lessons of Hall of Fame baseball player and African-American Jackie Robinson, who in 1947, ended 80 years of Major League Baseball segregation.

“Be mindful of the catalytic effect one person can have on a community, on a neighborhood, on a nation, on a compelling cause or a nagging injustice,” said Lucchino, a Yale Law School grad. “Hold within yourself a capacity for outrage at injustice. Be confident that if you fight long enough and hard enough, you too can make a difference. And like Jackie Robinson, you can do it with dignity.

“Your world is indeed a rich, open, diverse, multi-colored, multi-ethnic, multi-textured, multi-cultural experience,” stated Lucchino, who was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by BU President Robert A. Brown. “Declaring that all groups are the same is a deceit; believing that some ethnic groups are better than others in a moral disgrace.

“Embrace and celebrate the pluralism and diversity that are the essence of American life, indeed the essence of all of life. We aren’t all the same, we shouldn’t try to be. Immerse yourself; enjoy our enriching differences. Opposites allegedly attract; they also educate.”

William H. Hayling, M.D., BU alum and mentoring advocate who co-founded “100 Black Men,” delivered the baccalaureate address at Marsh Chapel to kick-off today’s formal commencement events at New England’s largest graduation ceremony.

“As you leave this great university, keep in mind that you now possess the knowledge and tools to help another human being who needs some guidance and who may not have a role model. You have the power to make a difference! Become a mentor to someone,” urged Dr. Hayling, who was awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree at the main commencement. “As you reflect on your years at BU, remember that the greatness of an institution is judged not by its library or its endowment but by the contributions of the men and women who go forth from it, the service they render to others, and the humility with which they serve.”

Also receiving honorary degrees at commencement were: Philanthropist and BU Trustee Emeritus Earle M. Chiles; Millard “Mickey” Drexler, chairman & CEO of J.Crew Group, Inc.; and tennis legend and National Women’s Hall of Fame member Billie Jean King, a leader in the movement to bring gender equity to sports

Jennifer Quigley, a 2008 summa cum laude graduate of the University Professors Program, gave the student address. The Huntington Station, New York native earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Theology, and plans on pursuing a Master of Divinity at BU’s School of Theology.

Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.

(Note to editors: High-resolution digital photographs of Boston University’s 135th commencement are available at http://www.bu.edu/photo/commencement/2008/).

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