Al Young hangs with Tony Barnstone, poet and Chair of Creative Writing, just before the Whittier College Commencement ceremony begins.
Graduating students parade across the athletics field on their way to Memorial Stadium and Whittier’s 106th Commencement.
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Whittier press release on doctoral honorees Marian Wright Edelman
and Al Young
Whittier College graduates taking on tough times
Alexandra Davis, 23, right, and Patricia Dewey, 24, both of Houston TX, are all smiles after receiving their diplomas during the Commencement at Whittier College in Whittier, CA on Friday, May 22, 2009.
WHITTIER – Commencement speakers at Whittier College’s 106th graduation ceremony Friday made no bones about the world that awaits the Class of 2009.
It’s an “especially polluted” world, said featured speaker Marian Wright Edelman, founder/president of the Children’s Defense Fund – a world where most would rather get than give, would rather hoard than share with others.
“I think we’ve lost our sense of what’s important as people,” she said.
Al Young, California’s poet laureate emeritus, told graduates that for the first time, their generation isn’t expected to live as well as their parents or grandparents.
But both implored the youngsters to be the instruments of change at the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony in the college’s Memorial Stadium, where about 370 Whittier College graduates received bachelor’s and master’s degrees Friday.
“I’m so grateful for my childhood legacy of service,” said Wright, a leading advocate for children and the disadvantaged in the United States.
“As you leave, you should be asking not how much you can get, but how much you can do without and share,” Wright said.
“You add a new consciousness to the world,” said Young, 69, who also recited his “Notes On The Future Of Love” poem at the ceremony. “So I trust you totally to save us, please.”
Whittier College President Sharon Herzberger awarded both Young and Wright honorary doctorates of humane letters.
Officials also honored chemistry professor Devin Iimoto with the college’s annual teaching excellence award.
Â© 2009 The Whittier Daily News