Last week’s Photo Friday showcased Ernie Boyer’s many, many honorary degrees — and the decorative quilt creatively constructed from them!
This week’s post zeroes in on one of those honorary degrees — a doctorate conferred by Fordham University in New York City in 1973 — and the speech Boyer gave at its acceptance.
Speaking at the commencement ceremony at which he’d received the degree, Boyer delivered a speech entitled “The Shaping of an Educated Heart.” The speech encourages graduates to attend to a “crisis of the human spirit” by putting their education to good use.
With words that continue to ring true over forty years later, Boyer noted,
I am convinced education increasingly must confront the crisis of our time. The hard fact remains that, while institutions of higher learning have continued to expand, we have still not found ways to implement our lofty claims. Indeed, as Clark Kerr observed, the sprawling campuses run the risk of facing the dinosaur’s dilemma, whose body grew so large its brain could no longer coordinate its
parts. . . .
[B]efore you [graduates] leave this happy island of inquiry, may I impose upon you . . . one more fifteen-minute lecture, and suggest three obligations which I believe our Nation’s colleges and universities must once again assume if we are to contribute more fully than we have to the strengthening of the moral fiber in our national life.
Boyer went on to advocate: (1) the unity of all life on Earth, (2) the “humanizing experience” of learning, and (3) the ability to “make judgements, to form convictions, and to act boldly upon the values we hold.”
To read the whole speech, click here.
To see more photos of Boyer receiving honorary degrees, click here.