Baldacci: What you do with
what you have is what matters
by Stephanie Gross
and unseasonably cool wind did nothing to dampen the spirits of
nearly 5,000 parents and soon-to-be graduates who made their way
to University Hall Saturday morning for Valedictory Exercises.
gathered to hear David Baldacci, suspense novelist and U.Va. Law
School graduate, talk about how they might prepare for the
next phase of their young lives, drawing from his own experiences
as a wordsmith, researcher and student of history.
must take the time to build the life you want, he advised.
Each of us is the embodiment of our past, our present and
our future. We must know where we came from to know where were
said that despite todays uneasy times and constant reminders
of how small the world has become, with careful thought and reflection
college graduates can do anything they want with their lives.
he warned his audience that with that ability comes responsibility
to use and share their gifts. Along the way, realize that
there will always be people who will need your help, he
following the student awards given at valediction, he said he
was glad to know that volunteering and public service were
alive and well in the Class of 2002.
greatest concerns for the present generation are a blind dependence
on technology and a disregard for the power, complexity and beauty
Of the first, he talked about a recent visit to a high school
in which students knew all about using technology but nothing
about how it worked. You are the most helpless, dependent
generation in the history of the world.
The point is not
how much information you have available, its what you do
with what you have.
he said, while we now have vast resources of information at our
fingertips via the Internet, we are not taking the time to distill
that information into value, knowledge and wisdom. It is
what we as human beings do best think and reflect. Yet,
instead, in todays world we feel compelled to react immediately.
And we make so many mistakes when we dont think things through.
made a plea to slow life down. Were not machines,
and its time to stop acting as if we were.
also asked that people consider language the most powerful tool
they have what separates them from blindly following
instead of establishing themselves as independent thinkers.
order to preserve our enormous freedoms, Baldacci
said, we can no longer be ignorant of other cultures.
Staying connected through events of the present and histories
of the past will allow us to overcome the ignorance and
intolerance in todays world, he said.
remarks came after the presentation of the class gift. This year,
the Class of 2002 had a 44 percent participation rate and handed
to U.Va. President John T. Casteen III a check for $49, 359. Students
could designate the University program of choice to receive their
donations, and overall 170 University programs will benefit from