Always a highlight of Spalding’s Commencement, President Tori Murden McClure closes her speech and the ceremony every year by announcing her list of “Ten Things I Think I know” – maxims and pieces of advice for the new graduates as they head out into the world. Here is President McClure’s top 10 list from this year’s commencement, presented on June 1, 2019.
1. If the carrot is big enough you can use it as a stick. And celery is a great thing to eat if you are hungry and you want to stay that way.
2. Road blocks only block the road. They do not block the grass, the path, the water, or the way less traveled. Road blocks just block the road.
3. Silence is golden, and if silence should fail you, remember that duct tape is silver. When my husband cannot fall asleep he does not count sheep. He talks to the shepherd and as loudly as he speaks, I think the shepherd must need a hearing aid.
4. It is never too late to have a happy childhood. I have had several. I have many more planned. Or the corollary, I may grow old, but I will never be old enough to know better. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it is still fun to bop people on the head with empty tubes.
5. Not every problem you face can be solved, but no problem can be solved if it is not faced. H.L. Menken said something like for every difficult problem there is an easy answer, and it is wrong.
6. Learn from the mistakes of others. You cannot live long enough to make them all yourselves.
A. Or the corollary, it is difficult to become old and wise if you are not first young and stupid.
B. There are gradations of stupid: Stupid Level 1 gets you hurt, Stupid Level 2 gets others hurt, Stupid Level 3 involves police and lawyers and you might never own your own home.
C. Avoid all levels of stupid that begin with the phrase, “Hey, hold my beer ‘nd watch ‘his.”
7. Do not burn bridges; just loosen the bolts a little each day.
8. If you have to keep something that you are doing a secret then perhaps you should not be doing it.
9. This is an important one for university presidents: Don’t take yourself too seriously. No one else does.
10. Do not believe everything you think. Or as Socrates said, all I know is that I know nothing.