Every ending is a beginning. With this realization in mind, we move forward to the next stage in our lives; and, no matter how different that stage may be from what we have known through the past 17 years of structured schooling, it will nevertheless represent an extension of those years, and it will call upon the wisdom we have accumulated during that period. That wisdom, I submit, derives from ?learning? properly conceived. My college experience was rife with such learning. Classroom learning often took a back seat to learning in other forums. I learned from my friends, my activities, and my experiences. Through this, I learned the most important lesson of all ? that knowledge derives less from classroom work, rote memorization or grade-getting than it does from our exposure to new people and their challenging ideas. At its best, the university can serve as a forum for the free exchange of these ideas, and for the debate and discussion that accompanies them. Its frequent failure to live up to this standard should be taken less as an indictment of it,and more as a challenge to us. The aphorism ?convince or be convinced? should govern your encounter with the world of ideas. Therein lies the essence of the college experience; a lesson all too often lost on those who spend four years here with no higher aim than job training. I hope that you escaped that trap. I hope that you got as much out of these four years as I did.

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