Lib­er­als give fi­nal word to ma­jor­ity of grad­u­ates

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY BRAD­FORD RICHARD­SON

WEST­MIN­STER, COLO. | Stu­dents at Colorado Chris­tian Uni­ver­sity spot­ted an en­dan­gered species in the world of higher ed­u­ca­tion: a con­ser­va­tive grad­u­a­tion speaker.

Best-sell­ing au­thor Eric Me­taxas de­liv­ered Satur­day’s com­mence­ment ad­dress, mak­ing him one of the few po­lit­i­cal con­ser­va­tives in­vited this year to speak to col­lege grad­u­ates. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port re­leased this week by Young Amer­ica’s Foun­da­tion, lib­eral com­mence­ment speak­ers out­num­ber con­ser­va­tives by a 12-1 ra­tio this year.

The politi­ciza­tion of grad­u­a­tion speak­ers may be a symp­tom of rot in higher ed­u­ca­tion. In his speech, Mr. Me­taxas said many uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing his alma mater, have little in­ter­est in pro­vid­ing stu­dents with a true ed­u­ca­tion.

“I have very, very little re­spect for Yale Uni­ver­sity and those uni­ver­si­ties that pre­tend that you can di­vorce ed­u­ca­tion from truth, from God, from the ul­ti­mate ques­tions,” Mr. Me­taxas said. “If you do not an­swer the ques­tion, or at least ask the ques­tion, ‘Who am I? Where do I come from? Where am I go­ing? What is the mean­ing of life?’ Those are

the only ques­tions ev­ery hu­man be­ing needs to know and wants to know and longs to know, and if an ed­u­ca­tion can­not be part of com­mu­ni­cat­ing at least thought­ful think­ing on that, if not ac­tual an­swers, that is no ed­u­ca­tion.”

Young Amer­ica’s Foun­da­tion looked at the top 100 na­tional uni­ver­si­ties, as ranked by U.S. News and World Re­port, and found only three that in­vited a con­ser­va­tive to de­liver this year’s main com­mence­ment ad­dress.

The Colorado School of Mines in­vited alum­nus Harold Korell, the for­mer CEO of South­west­ern En­ergy Co.; Lehigh Uni­ver­sity in­vited alumna Cathy En­gel­bert, the CEO of Deloitte; and Yeshiva Uni­ver­sity in­vited Am­bas­sador Danny Danon, Is­rael’s per­ma­nent rep­re­sen­ta­tive to the United Na­tions.

The re­port iden­ti­fied 38 schools that chose grad­u­a­tion speak­ers who hold lib­eral views. The list in­cludes politi­cians, busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives, jour­nal­ists, co­me­di­ans and so­cial jus­tice ac­tivists.

Elite uni­ver­si­ties were es­pe­cially likely to shun con­ser­va­tive speak­ers from their com­mence­ment cer­e­monies.

Among the top 45 schools in the na­tion, as ranked by U.S. News, none in­vited a con­ser­va­tive grad­u­a­tion speaker. At the top 44 schools, 26 in­vited a lib­eral com­mence­ment speaker.

Rep. John Lewis, Ge­or­gia Demo­crat, is head­lin­ing the com­mence­ment cer­e­monies at four in­sti­tu­tions: Bos­ton Uni­ver­sity, the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, San Diego, and Har­vard Uni­ver­sity.

Other Democrats de­liv­er­ing com­mence­ment ad­dresses in­clude Ore­gon Gov. Kate Brown, who was in­vited to the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado; Sen. Ka­mala D. Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia, who was in­vited to the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley; Vir­ginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was in­vited to Vir­ginia Tech Uni­ver­sity; and Sen. Mark R. Warner of Vir­ginia, who was in­vited to the Col­lege of William & Mary.

For­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Al Gore will de­liver the main com­mence­ment ad­dress this week­end at the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land.

Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau was at Yan­kee Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day to speak to grad­u­ates of New York Uni­ver­sity. He was in­tro­duced as “one of the most en­light­ened and pro­gres­sive po­lit­i­cal lead­ers of our time” and an “avowed fem­i­nist” who “raised taxes on the wealth­i­est 1 per­cent of Cana­di­ans,” which drew ap­plause from stu­dents.

In his re­marks, Mr. Trudeau en­cour­aged stu­dents to ex­plore other cul­tures and push their bound­aries.

“There are se­ri­ous and im­por­tant prob­lems that we are grap­pling with and will con­tinue to grap­ple with,” the Cana­dian prime min­is­ter said. “But we are not go­ing to ar­rive at mu­tual re­spect, which is where we solve com­mon prob­lems, if we co­coon our­selves in an ide­o­log­i­cal, so­cial or in­tel­lec­tual bub­ble.”

Other no­table grad­u­a­tion speak­ers in­cluded Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook, who de­liv­ered the com­mence­ment ad­dress Sun­day at Duke Uni­ver­sity; MSNBC an­chor An­drea Mitchell, who de­liv­ered the com­mence­ment ad­dress Mon­day at the Uni­ver­sity of Penn­syl­va­nia; and ac­tress Mindy Kal­ing, who will speak to grad­u­ates of Dart­mouth Uni­ver­sity next month.

Mr. Cook im­plored stu­dents to dis­rupt the sta­tus quo. He re­called the stu­dents in Park­land, Florida, who launched na­tional protests against gun vi­o­lence, the “fear­less” women who sparked the #MeToo move­ment and peo­ple who “fight for the rights of im­mi­grants.”

Spencer Brown, a spokesman for Young Amer­ica’s Foun­da­tion, said uni­ver­si­ties are giv­ing stu­dents a lib­eral send-off be­fore they face re­al­ity.

“Amer­ica’s top in­sti­tu­tions con­tinue to be aban­doned as sites of higher ed­u­ca­tion and turned into in­doc­tri­na­tion cen­ters,” Mr. Brown said in a state­ment. “As if four years of be­ing fed left­ist Pablum wasn’t enough, too many schools shove their stu­dents out the door with one last lib­eral les­son.”


POP­U­LAR POL: Cana­dian Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau de­liv­ered the New York Uni­ver­sity com­mence­ment ad­dress Wed­nes­day at Yan­kee Sta­dium. Grad­u­at­ing stu­dents cheered at his in­tro­duc­tion when they heard he had “raised taxes on the wealth­i­est 1 per­cent of...

ON A COL­LEGE TOUR: Rep. John Lewis, Ge­or­gia Demo­crat, is head­lin­ing com­mence­ment cer­e­monies at four high­ere­d­u­ca­tion in­sti­tu­tions this year.

AN­OTHER DEMO­CRAT: Ore­gon Gov. Kate Brown will de­liver a com­mence­ment ad­dress this year at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado.


Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook de­liv­ered the com­mence­ment ad­dress at Duke Uni­ver­sity on Sun­day.

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