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May 26, 2017

The Alumni Newsletter of  WAKE FOREST UNIVERSITY

Ken Bennett

Be curious, gracious and hopeful, Jon Meacham said, and "never be embarrassed to put your hand over your heart when a band strikes up the national anthem."

EDITORS' PICKS

Commencement call to reflection

Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham asked nearly 1,900 undergraduate, graduate and professional school students at Commencement last week to consider that the times we are living in are marked by pervasive partisanship. Partisanship in itself is not a bad thing, he said, but what's worth avoiding is "reflexive, rather than reflective" partisanship.

"The point of America is not for all of us to agree; that's impossible and undesirable in any event," he said, pointing to the "total agreement" or "at least total submission" in autocracies. His plea: be reflective about public life and "broad-minded and big-hearted" "the American republic is founded on the notion that even the person with whom I most stridently disagree might have something to say worth hearing and heeding."

Meacham's address serious, witty, patriotic underscored how history has the capacity to bring people together. It seemed perfect for a day celebrating the march forward, across the stage, for our graduates. Surrounded by family, faculty, staff and administrators on a morning punctuated with heartfelt applause, our graduates had to feel the embrace of a generous community, constant and true. We've got the photos to prove it. Enjoy!

Here's to our newest alumni,

Maria Henson

Maria Henson ('82)
Associate Vice President and Editor-at-Large
magazine.wfu.edu

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