David Gergen, Prominent Commentator, Editor, Professor, Author and Presidential Adviser, Delivers Keynote Address at Bentley University May 21, 2011, Commencement Ceremony
David Gergen, a prominent commentator, editor, professor, best-selling author and adviser to four presidents, addressed more than 1,000 Bentley University undergraduates at the 92nd commencement ceremony on May 21, 2011. Speaking to an estimated audience of 9,000 attendees, Gergen urged graduates to step up and become a new generation of leaders who can save America.
“What we’ve learned during this past year -- especially in the streets of Cairo and Tunis -- is you no longer have to consider yourselves the leaders of tomorrow, you can be leaders today,” said Gergen, who frequently appears as a senior political analyst for CNN, and currently serves as professor of public service and the director of the Center for Public Leadership at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
“What’s going on now in our society is that there are all sorts of openings that are coming up and beckoning you to step forward at a very, very young age and become a leader right now,” he continued. “Don’t think about this as something you have to wait until you’re 40 years old, do it now. Make the impact now.”
Citing concern about a fading American spirit and the country’s decline as an economic power, he underscored the critical role of graduates. “Nations do not become great because they are lucky, nations become great because their citizens work hard … Your generation, the millennial generation, represents rising hope for America. I believe you are different: that you care about changing the way we live; that you think this [political] polarization is stupid; that you want to pull us together; that you are determined to turn over a new America to your own children. Not all of you, but enough of you to count. I see your generation bringing a renaissance in the American spirit.”
Gergen referred to Bentley’s integration of liberal arts and ethics into the business curriculum as he charged graduates to be mindful leaders. “You are also a generation setting out to redefine the role of business in our society. You understand that business does share in the responsibility for the devastation wrecked upon millions of families by our recent financial crisis. Business does share some responsibility. There was too much greed, too much recklessness. Yours is the generation that must bring fresh leadership to business – leadership that is socially responsible and accountable.”
He concluded, “You are entering a world that is deeply troubled, a world that worries whether America still has the right stuff, whether we could still embark on an impossible dream like going to the moon. But your generation, I believe, is one in which hearts are again touched with fire. All of us here today wish you well and hope, fervently, that you will become the country’s next great generation.”
Gergen received an honorary doctor of laws degree at the ceremony.
MCCALLUM GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
At the 36th annual commencement ceremony, Christopher Lynch MBA ‘91, a highly successful chief executive and serial entrepreneur, delivered the keynote address to more than 700 graduate students during the McCallum Graduate School of Business ceremony. Lynch currently serves as vice president and general manager of Vertica Systems, a Hewlett Packard company.
In an impassioned speech, Lynch recounted how early experiences shaped his choices. “I grew up modestly, but in a home full of love and so I was happy… therefore I never equated money with happiness. I never chased money; I chased love and connections to people. This continues to empower me to this day.”
He encouraged graduates to remain true to themselves and their passions. “Your success should be defined by you … my advice is to make it about who you love and what you love to do, not about your possessions or what you earn. It’s not about how much money you make; it’s about how you live your life.”
Lynch concluded by urging graduates to take risks and remain strong in the face of adversity. “… Accept no one’s definition of you but your own, and remember, the fear of failure is what holds people back from greatness. The future is yours and the future is now.”
Lynch received an honorary doctor of commercial science degree at the ceremony.
ABOUT THE GRADUATES
At the undergraduate ceremony, 980 bachelor of science degrees, 20 bachelor of arts degrees and five certificates were awarded to 1,005 students. (Students may earn multiple degrees and certificates so may be counted more than once. Figures include degrees and certificates conferred October 22, 2010, February 25, 2011, and May 21, 2011.)
At the McCallum Graduate School of Business ceremony, three doctoral degrees, 449 master of science degrees, 258 master of business administration degrees, seven dual MS/MBA degrees, and 68 certificates were granted to 718 graduate students. (Students may earn multiple degrees and certificates so may be counted more than once. Figures include degrees and certificates conferred October 22, 2010, February 25, 2011, and May 21, 2011.)
FACULTY AND STUDENT AWARDS
The Gregory H. Adamian Award for Excellence in Teaching was presented to Richard Cleary, professor and chair of mathematical sciences. The Bentley University Award for Excellence in Scholarship was presented to Mary Culnan, professor of information and process management, and Slade Professor of management and information technology. The Joseph M. Cronin Award for Excellence in Academic Advising was given to Helen Meldrum, associate professor of natural and applied sciences, and associate professor of psychology.
Student honorees included Alexa Kaklamanos ‘11, winner of the Professor Robert J. Weafer Award for Undergraduate Academic Excellence. The Professor William E. Dandes Award for Graduate Academic Excellence went to Ursula Ryan ‘11. Michael Delany was presented with the Outstanding Evening Student Award for Academic Excellence.
ABOUT THE SPEAKERS
David Gergen has an extraordinary record of bipartisan public service. He served in the White House as an adviser to four Presidents: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton. Most recently, he served in the Clinton administration, first as Counselor to the President, and then as Special Adviser to the President and the Secretary of State.
Gergen also works as a political journalist and analyst.
He was the first managing editor of Public Opinion, a magazine affiliated with the American Enterprise Institute, and from 1985 to 1986 he worked as an editor at U.S. News & World Report, where he also served as editor-at-large.
Gergen’s career in broadcast began in 1985 when he joined the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour for Friday night discussions of politics. Today, he appears frequently on CNN as an analyst for Anderson Cooper 360 and Situation Room, and regularly provides analysis on radio programs. He is also the author of the best-selling book, Eyewitness to Power: The Essence of Leadership, Nixon to Clinton.
A native of Durham, North Carolina, Gergen is an honors graduate of Yale University, where he earned his bachelor of arts in 1963, and Harvard Law School, where he received his bachelor of laws degree in 1967. He is active as a speaker on leadership and serves on many boards including Teach for America, the Aspen Institute, and Duke University, where he taught from 1995 to 1999. He is a member of the Washington D.C. Bar, the Council on Foreign Relations, and holds 18 honorary degrees. He also served for three-and-a-half years in the U.S. Navy, where he was posted for two years to a ship home-ported in Japan.
A veteran of both emerging and established technology leaders, Lynch was tapped by Vertica’s board in 2010 to take the company to the next level, extending its market leadership, channel partnerships, and international expansion. His successful record of leadership positions across a variety of top technology companies includes F5 Networks, where he was senior vice president of data solutions; Acopia Networks, where he was CEO; Cisco Systems where he was vice president of worldwide content delivery networking sales; and ArrowPoint Communications where he served as vice president of worldwide sales, marketing and support.
Lynch’s impressive accomplishments as an entrepreneur and visionary business leader made him instrumental in ArrowPoint’s initial public offering, leading the organization’s revenue growth from zero to $250 million sales annually over 18 months and establishing 60 sales and support offices worldwide. ArrowPoint was subsequently acquired by Cisco Systems for $5.7 billion in June of 2000. Prior to ArrowPoint, Lynch was vice president of North and South American sales for Lucent Technologies Gigabit Ethernet Products Unit, where he built a sales and channels organization that generated revenue at an annual rate of $40 million over a seven-month period. He joined Lucent from Prominet Corporation after the company was acquired by Lucent for $200 million in January 1998. With 25 years in the technology industry, Lynch has also held sales leadership positions at Bay Networks, Wellfleet Communications, and Digital Equipment Corporation.
Lynch earned his master’s in business administration from the McCallum Graduate School of Business at Bentley University in 1991 and his bachelor’s degree in business management from Suffolk University. He serves on the boards of Tervela, Azuki Systems and RayV.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Further details on Commencement 2011 can be found on the Bentley University commencement web site at: http://commencement.bentley.edu/