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tv   New York University Commencement Address  CSPAN  June 1, 2014 1:05pm-1:16pm EDT

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be obtained anywhere in the ivy leagues, i knew i was being asked to participate in history. dr. mayes taught all of us we only have a moment, but there is a paternity in it. so i recognized on november 22 eternity in it.r so i recognized that i had a momentous choice. decisive, important, vital, big, crucial, historic, earth shattering, all the things expected of a morehouse man. this is why on november 22, 2000 six, despite the long odds associated with his candidacy, i told senator obama, barack, if you run, i am with you. so i stand before you as a , who by and d student
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virtue of the education and inspiration i received at this place is today a member of president barack obama's cabinet , the head of a government agency of 240,000 people, and the guardian of this nation's homeland security. [applause] today, you are hereby crowned a ce, anointedk prin with the title morehouse man, propelled by the pride of your family, entrusted with the legacy of the great morehouse men who precede you and saddled with a load of expectations. being a morehouse man means more than acquiring a good job am a good manners, and a good suit. ,hile others fear the darkness you must light the candle. wallow in bigotry,
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intolerance or homophobia, you must provide enlightenment. when others are content to deliver courage by proxy, you must step to the front of the line. a our society continues to need the power of your leadership and the power of your example. eachthe last four years, time you sang dear old morehouse, you pledge dear life to this institution and its ideals and all things that you to lead ar it is nonviolent social movement, help president,ecome served in his cabinet, serving as military, preach the word of god, teach for america, teach sunday school, serve as an addiction advisor, serve as your brothers keeper, one more thing. you leave morehouse today, but
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you do not leave it behind. today is your last day morehouse, but it is your first day you can start to give back. the future of the school depends on its alumni. i know i speak for every alumnus at this event when i say we look forward to seeing your names next to ours on the list of alumni donors. large or small, whatever you are .apable of doing to those who become morehouse man, much is required. thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> the chairman of the federal reserve, janet yellen, paid to
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beat her predecessor, ben bernanke. she talked about his courageous actions during the 2008 financial crisis. genet yellen is the first woman -- janet yellen is the first woman to lead the fed and its history. this is about 10 minutes. marks. this is about 10 minutes. thank you, president sexton. on behalf of the honorees, let me express my thanks to nyu. and congratulations from all of us to you, the class of 2014, and to your families, especially your parents. this is a special day to
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celebrate your achievements and to look forward to your lives ahead. your nyu education has not only provided you with a foundation of knowledge; it has also, i hope, instilled in you a love of knowledge and an enduring curiosity. life will continue to be a journey of discovery if you tend the fires of curiosity that burn brightly in all of us. such curiosity led eric kandel, here at nyu, to his lifetime goal, to discover the chemical and cellular basis of human memory.
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a few years after his graduation, he was doing research on cats. but he had the idea of focusing on an animal with a simpler, more fundamental brain: the california sea slug. his colleagues all but ridiculed him for the idea. they "knew" that the study of the lowly sea slug was irrelevant for understanding human memory. kandel's surgically-skilled collaborator deserted him. to get up to speed on sea slugs, he had to go abroad to study.
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but kandel persisted and, in 2000, his curiosity won him the nobel prize. it was, as you must have guessed, for deciphering the chemistry of memory in humans, as revealed by his research on sea slugs. kandel's life, i believe, demonstrates how a persistent curiosity can help us reach ambitious goals, even with great roadblocks in the way. a second tool for lifelong intellectual growth is a willingness to listen carefully to others. these days, technology allows us access to a great breadth of perspectives, but it also allows
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us to limit what voices we hear to the narrow range we find most agreeable. listening to others, especially those with whom we disagree, tests our own ideas and beliefs. it forces us to recognize, with humility, that we don't have a monopoly on the truth. yankee stadium is a natural venue for another lesson: you won't succeed all the time. even ruth, gehrig and dimaggio failed most of time when they stepped to the plate. finding the right path in life, more often than not, involves some missteps. my federal reserve colleagues and i experienced this as we
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struggled to address a financial and economic crisis that threatened the global economy. we brainstormed and designed a host of programs to unclog the plumbing of the financial system and to keep credit flowing. not everything worked but we kept at it, and we remained focused on the task at hand. i learned the lesson during this period that one's response to the inevitable setbacks matters as much as the balance of victories and defeats. there is an unfortunate myth that success is mainly determined by something called "ability." but research indicates that our best measures of these qualities are unreliable predictors of
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performance in academics or employment. psychologist angela lee duckworth says that what really matters is a quality she calls "grit" -- an abiding commitment to work hard toward long-range goals and to persevere through the setbacks that come along the way. one aspect of grit that i think is particularly important is the willingness to take a stand when circumstances demand it. such circumstances may not be all that frequent, but in every life, there will be crucial moments when having the courage to stand up for what you believe will be immensely important.


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