Three Things Every College Student Should Learn

We just finished Commencement at Wesleyan University. We awarded around 800 diplomas, and we recognized the achievements of Kwame Anthony Appiah, Patti Smith and Bryan Stevenson with honorary doctorates. Each spoke eloquently, and Bryan encouraged our graduates to dare to change the world by getting closer to those most in need, to change the narrative of achievement and oppression, and to be willing to do uncomfortable things while preserving hope. The graduating seniors rose in a standing ovation.

Graduation ceremonies are inspiring, and yesterday's was particularly so. As the seniors departed, I was hopeful that all our graduates, whatever their majors and plans for the future, learned three broad things while they were in college: learned what they love to do; learned how to get better at it; learned how to share what they love to do with others. With that broad education under their belts, I look forward to seeing how they will engage with the world in the years to come.

That's what I tell our students when they are starting college. Here's an excerpt I recently gave to pre-frosh making their minds up about which college or university to attend:

Cross-posted with Washington Post.

Michael S. Roth is president of Wesleyan University. His most recent books are "Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters" and "Memory, Trauma, and History: Essays on Living With the Past."

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