Meadville Tribune

Local News

May 12, 2013

Allegheny commencement 'all in the family'


MEADVILLE — Lisa Byers can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at

Each member of the Allegheny College Class of 2013 has something planned in the way of their future.

Some will soon enter the workforce. Others will begin internships either near or far.

There are those who will embark on a master’s degrees either back at Allegheny or another institution of their choice.

Some will simply take a break, enjoy a few months off and then tackle their newest endeavor.

Whatever the case, Eddie Taylor Jr., the chairman of Allegheny College’s board of trustees and a member of the Allegheny College Class of 1987, urged those students to never take a break from learning.

“You clearly value education, as you are about to be graduates from this exceptional undergraduate institution,” Taylor said as he welcomed the graduating class and their families during Saturday’s commencement ceremony on Bentley Lawn. “Don’t stop listening or learning just because class is dismissed. Continue to educate yourselves on those causes, those passions. Be wary, however, of letting those passions polarize you.

“It is by truly understanding the details of issues, keeping your minds open to others’ interests, others’ points of view, the positions others take on a topic, that you will be able to effect the type of positive change that can be widely embraced.”

Allegheny honored 467 students with degrees. The college also presented honorary degrees to Douglas Brinkley, Joan Brown Campbell, Morris Fiorina, James E. Nevels and David Shribman.

Brinkley, who was awarded an honory doctorate of humane letters, delivered the commencement address. He, too, implored the graduates to continue learning, to ask questions and to never settle for something that is “just not right,” using a rousing speech about Rosa Parks.

Parks, the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement, was someone who would always shout out that something wasn’t right, Brinkley said, likening her to Allegheny graduate and muckraking journalist Ida Tarbell, who also was strong about her ways and wasn’t afraid to say “that’s not right.”

“Today you are all in many ways leaving your mothers and fathers in some ways,” Brinkley said, “because you are going to have to be the new generation that calls out injustice when you see it, no matter what your job is.

“You’ve learned integrity here at Allegheny College. Make sure you aren’t afraid in your lives to have your Rosa Parks or Nelson Mandela moment or moments. When you step out be sure to call and ace an ace and a spade a spade. Be honest and you will go far. But also be brave and don’t let injustice have any role in American society.”

Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, a bestselling author and presidential historian for CBS News.

Campbell is the first woman director of religion at the Chautauqua Institution and has worked alongside world leaders for peace and social justice.

Fiorina, an Allegheny graduate, is the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University and a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution.

Nevels is chairman of the Swarthmore Group, an investment advisory firm which he founded in 1991. He was appointed chair of the Philadelphia School Reform Commission in 2001.

Shribman is the executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

Campbell, Fiorina, Nevels and Shribman, like Brinkley, had honorary doctorates of humane letters conferred on them.

The ceremony concluded with the presentation of degrees to the 467 graduates and Allegheny President James H. Mullen Jr.’s charge to the class of 2013.

“I charge you to love this place that has been your home for the last four years,” he said. “As it approaches its third century, help it as it sets the standard of excellence for liberal arts learning in America.”

Allegheny is the 32nd oldest college in the nation. The ceremony concluded its 198th year.



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