May 23, 2006

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell gave the Bucknell University Commencement address May 21.

Rendell also received Bucknell University's highest honor, the Award of Merit, on behalf of the University from Bucknell President Brian C. Mitchell, who lauded Rendell's guidance of the nation's sixth most populous state as a "confirmation of his love of country, his devotion to public service, and his powerful work ethic.

"Governor Rendell is widely noted for his political integrity, problem-solving abilities, and engaging personality. And he has been a diligent advocate for access to first class higher education.

Gov. Rendell and Bucknell Award of Merit

"In fact he has made strengthening academics at every level in Pennsylvania the centerpiece of his philosophy in achievements as the Commonwealth's leader," said Mitchell.

Mitchell was assisted in the presentation of the award by William Graham IV, a 1962 Bucknell graduate and Bucknell trustee. Rendell thanked Graham, who is chairman and chief executive officer of The Graham Company in Philadelphia, for his help with "turning the city of Philadelphia around."

In his address to the nearly 800 graduating seniors, Rendell called Bucknell one of the nation's finest academic institutions and "the UCLA of the East in basketball."

He suggested four pieces of advice for the graduates, saying, "The most important thing that you can do is to not let other people define success for you. You must stake out the criteria that will indicate to you whether you've succeeded or not.

"You set the criteria, you set the bar for success in your life and each and every one of you should have a different definition of success and it should be yours and only yours."

Rendell also advised, "It's very, very important that you don't let people tell you what you can't do. But it's important for all of you to have dreams, to have a vision, to know where you want to go and to reach for the stars. You cannot be afraid to fail."

Rendell's last piece of advice was, "Whatever you do, whatever career you stake out, make sure you find some time to give something back. The power of volunteering, the power of public service, can do so much, can change so many people's lives."

Rendell closed by saying, "Graduates of the Class of 2006, we need your energy, we need your optimism, we need your vision, we need your hopefulness, we need all of the good things you can bring to us, so go out, don't look back, do great things."


Rendell's complete speech, plus more features, other speeches, and selected photos are at

Story posted May 23, 2006


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