Fred Rogers '50 Delivers the Commencement Address

"And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not."

"Wow. What a privilege to be with you all. Since I’ve arrived here in Hanover, many people have greeted me by saying, “It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood.” Well, indeed it is a beautiful day, but before I begin, I’d like you to know that I recognize that you, who live and work here, have had many days, particularly during these last several months, that have been far from beautiful. You’ve had a painful time, and you’ve handled it with dignity. I feel certain that the Zantop’s generous spirits inspire you. And it’s a great privilege for me to be with you all.

When I was at Dartmouth in the late 1940s, the tuition, room, and board all added up to $1,100 a year. Nobody owned a home computer, and hardly anyone had a television set. And those who did, there was a choice of three channels. I’m not sure if Jeanne Shaheen was even born yet, but very few people would have guessed that within 50 years, a woman would be governor or New Hampshire. Yes. When I was here, the first word of the alma mater was “Men. Men of Dartmouth give a rouse.” Well, now the first word is "Dear." Some things change for the better.

During my first year here, I lived right over there at 101 Middle Mass. And I had two roommates. I had a professor, over there, who did his best to scare everyone in his class, and he gave me the lowest grade that I ever had in any school anywhere. But I also had an astronomy professor, George Dimitrov, who looked for and found what was best in each of his students. When I look at the night sky, I still think of that extra special, kind man.

Dartmouth is many things to each of us, and I'm grateful to Jim and Susan Wright for all that they have done for this school. And I’m grateful to my old friend, Chick Koop, for all that he has done for all of us. And I congratulate every one of you who is being honored in any way during this Commencement weekend.

Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel. A facet of that jewel. And in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not."

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