Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, speaking at SMU’s Commencement on Saturday, told the graduates that as educated persons they have a responsibility to commit themselves to reason and the pursuit of truth.
“You’ve been encouraged to know that reason and faith are not enemies of one another, but together permit the fullest expression of what it is to be human,” she said. “This experience will sustain you for the rest of your lives.”
> See slideshows from SMU Commencement Weekend 2012
> Watch Condoleezza Rice’s Commencement address at SMU
> Read a transcript of Condoleezza Rice’s address.
> Read more from SMU News, including a spotlight on graduating students
She told the 2,100 graduates, their families and friends at Moody Coliseum that education “is a force that erases arbitrary divisions of race and class and culture, and unlocks every person’s potential. … Education is transformative. It literally changes lives. That is why people work so hard to become educated. And that is why education has always been the key to human beings and their dreams.”
Rice, who received an honorary degree during the ceremonies, said, “No one should assume that a life of reason is easy. To the contrary, it takes a great deal of courage and honesty. For the only way you will grow intellectually is by constantly examining your opinions, attacking your prejudices, and completing your journey toward the force of reason.”
The weekend’s activities included the Baccalaureate service Friday, May 11, with guest speaker Richard J. Wood, dean emeritus of Yale University Divinity School and former president of Earlham College.
The service was followed by Rotunda Recessional, a tradition in which seniors march through the Rotunda of Dallas Hall, marking the end of their undergraduate years and the beginning of their lifelong association with SMU as alumni.
Read more about honorary degree recipients Condoleezza Rice and philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright after the jump.