May 25, 2004
On Sunday, May 23, consumer advocate, lawyer, and author Ralph Nader presented an address on civic engagement at Bucknell University's 154th commencement. But even before he gave the speech, Nader had made another presentation to each graduating senior in Bucknell's Class of 2004 — a copy of The Wealth of Man, by Peter Jay.
The book has been described as "an epic history of mankind's quest to invent, trade and make money."
Its author, Jay, is the economics editor of the BBC, former economics editor for the London Times, and former British ambassador to the United States.
One review described Jay's book as a "broad-ranging, stirring, and surprising account of man's pursuit of wealth. From cavemen to cyberspace, and spanning the entire globe, The Wealth of Man is a masterwork of historical, economic, scientific and cultural synthesis — the sort of re-reading of history that makes a reader's eyes pop open with wonder and delight."
James Rice, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Bucknell and chair of this year's commencement speaker selection committee, said Nader is "very enthusiastic about this book." Nader made the offer to purchase the books and give them to Bucknell graduates in a phone call to Rice's office several weeks ago.
Rice accepted the offer and made the books available for pickup to graduating seniors on campus. "Most were gone in a week," he said.
Diplomas were awarded at commencement to 823 undergraduate and graduate students — 658 from the College of Arts and Sciences, 138 from the College of Engineering, and 27 with master's degrees.
Nader announced his candidacy for the U.S. presidency about four months after he was chosen as Bucknell's commencement speaker. His commencement address was not political in nature.