Commencement Remarks by Charles Mooney,
Chair of the Faculty Senate, May 17, 2004
Service and Honesty
It is my
distinct honor to stand before you, the Class of 2004,
as a representative of the faculty of
the University of Pennsylvania. On my colleagues' behalf,
I offer you our congratulations, our praise, and our highest
hopes for your future happiness and success.
I also offer you our thanks. We thank you
because without you, our students, we the faculty would
not have a university. Indeed, without you, we would not
be faculty. Now, some of us might find other means of supporting
our habits of research and scholarship, but without you,
our students, our personal, professional, and intellectual
lives would be much diminished. We thank you for your time
here and your role in making Penn the institution of excellence
that it is.
Now, having congratulated, praised, and thanked
you, I wish to issue two challenges.
challenge is that of service. I
refer to service to your community, your country, or whatever
piece of the world may attract your attention. This challenge
is consistent with honoring today our principal speaker,
Paul 'Bono' Hewson. As Bono has given back much, I challenge
you to do the same. Some of you will find yourselves in
"public service" or "public interest" positions. Many
of you will
not. But to all of you I express my hope that you will
seek out ways to make some part of the world a better place.
I need not make specific suggestions because the opportunities
are vast. As Sir Francis Bacon wrote, "A wise man will
make more opportunities than he finds."
Now for my second challenge; I challenge
you to be honest. Honesty entails not only observing legal
restrictions and duties, but truthfulness as well. Every
day in the news we observe stories of fallen angels in
business, in sports, in the professions, and in government.
I do not need to mention names; each of you can come up
with instant examples.
Every one of you will experience
misfortune in some way at some time. In many cases important
experiences, and events will be shaped by forces that are
not within your control. But your integrity is exclusively within your control
and power. As I have told my students at the Law School
in every course that I have taught in the 18 years since
I arrived at Penn, your integrity, including your reputation
for honesty and truthfulness, are your most valuable personal
and professional assets. Once lost, these assets likely
are lost forever. William Shakespeare put it well in his
play, All's Well that Ends Well, "no legacy is so
rich as honesty."
I offer one more bit of advice. It was given in a commencement
speech by Katherine Ortega
when she was Treasurer of the United States. She
said, "In time you will meet up with other people who think
they have all the answers. These people are called bosses.
My advice is: Humor them."
In closing, on behalf of the faculty I wish
you the very best. And, speaking only for myself, God bless