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Penn Commencement 2008
May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34

Penn Commencement Remarks by Dr. Sherrill Adams, professor of biochemistry, School of Dental Medicine, and
Incoming Chair of the Faculty Senate, Monday, May 19, 2008.

Engaging in Service for the Greater Good


It is with great pride and pleasure that I offer all of you congratulations on behalf of the faculty. You have much to celebrate. You are graduating today from an eminent university, founded by Benjamin Franklin over 250 years ago with an unusual vision for that time, a vision of an education that would prepare students for lives of public service, an education that promoted the spirit of free inquiry and learning in the service of society. You, the students graduating today from the University of Pennsylvania, embody Franklin’s ideals. Yes, you have excelled at academics, but you have also reached out in extraordinary ways in service to others. You have traveled to New Orleans to help the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. You have registered voters in unprecedented numbers to vote in the Pennsylvania primary. You have gone out into the community to tutor underprivileged students and to provide health care for those less fortunate than you. You have gone to Botswana as part of Penn’s HIV/AIDS partnership. And you have performed cutting-edge research that will contribute to our health and well-being. In short, you are the true legacies of Franklin, engaged at every level in service for the greater good.  Because of all of you, Penn is not simply an ivory tower. Because of you, the University is fully engaged in the community, the city, the country and the world. It has been a privilege for us, the faculty, to teach you, to work with you, to learn from you and, yes, to befriend you.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may not happen. Keep in the sunlight.”  He may have been speaking to graduates like you on a day like today, when you celebrate your accomplishments and look to an exciting, but perhaps unknown, future.  Some of you may know exactly where your next steps will take you, while for others this may be a time of some uncertainty. Of this I am sure:  you all have so much to offer. Be excited about the opportunities ahead, and continue to reach out to others, as you have done during your time with us.

Finally, this is your day. Enjoy it and celebrate with your families, friends and loved ones. May you all keep in the sunlight.



Almanac - May 27, 2008, Volume 54, No. 34