Huntsman to grads: follow 'passion'
May 17, 2010, 9:23 pm · Updated May 17, 2010, 12:00 am·
Addressing the graduating Class of 2010 in Franklin Field, Ambassador to China and Penn alumnus Jon Huntsman, Jr. joked, “No, you didn’t get Lady Gaga.”
“You didn’t get Dick Cheney, he’ll be at Yale,” he said, adding, “Snoop Dog came to spring fling.”
Huntsman combined humor with reflection and advice during his speech at Penn’s 254th commencement ceremony on May 17.
Penn Provost Vincent Price encouraged graduates to learn from Huntsman’s experience as a Penn alumnus.
Huntsman remembered the advice his grandfather had given his father, to follow the path he had by going into education. Huntsman’s father, who became a successful businessman, told his him, “control your destiny, go into business.”
Huntsman, who graduated from the College in 1987, said, “an amazing thing took place at my studies here — I found my passion.”
The former Governor of Utah encouraged the new graduates to seek out their passions as well.
“Life will be uncertain until you do,” he warned.
“The world is still managed at all levels by human beings and human emotions,” Huntsman continued. Successful people, he added, have “the most precious of attributes — good judgment.”
At the end of his address, Huntsman recommended what he called the “The Five F’s” — “find yourself”, “find a cause”, “face failure”, “find someone to love” and “find meaning.”
Penn President Amy Gutmann also offered her advice to the new graduates.
“It’s about to get real,” Gutmann said, but urged the Class of 2010 to “take heart,” because “rumors about the real world have been greatly exaggerated.”
She encouraged graduates to embrace feelings of apprehension as they leave Penn. “Those panicked moments” are actually what will incite students to achieve their potential,” she added.
In order to succeed, graduates must “let go” of perfection, she said. “This is a call to be brave and courageous.”
Other speakers for Penn commencement include U.S. Vice President Joe Biden at the School of Social Policy & Practice’s ceremony and Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell at the School of Dental Medicine.