“This is my first ever commencement speech, and depending on your reviews, maybe my last.”
So said New York Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. in his keynote address to SUNY New Paltz graduates on May 21st.
Sulzberger laced his talk with mea culpas to the senior class, saying that “When I graduated in 1974, my fellow students and I ended the Vietnam War and ousted President Nixon. Okay….Okay…That’s not quite true. Maybe there were larger forces at play.”
Saying that his generation “entered the real world committed to making it a better, safer, cleaner, more equal place,” Sulzberger noted that “we were determined not to repeat the mistakes of our predecessors. We had seen the horrors and futility of war and smelled the stench of corruption in government. Our children, we vowed, would never know that…
So, well, sorry. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.”
Sulzberger, who received an honorary doctorate during the ceremony, also lamented the fact that we’re “still fighting for fundamental human rights, be it the rights of immigrants to start a new life, the rights of gays to marry or the rights of women to choose.”
Deborah Lambert is the Director of Special Projects for Accuracy in Media, she also writes the squeaky chalk column for AIA’s Campus Report