2 min read
Posted on 05.14.06
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 05.14.06

I spoke at Webster University’s 2006 commencement ceremonies yesterday morning at America’s Center.

No one who isn’t graduating — or who isn’t related to a graduate by blood, law, or investment — should have to listen to (or read) an entire commencement speech.

I told them in part:

My advice to you today is this: Take Risks.

Don’t play it safe. Don’t stick to doing only those things that you are comfortable doing.

T.S. Eliot — a St. Louisan, by the way — said that only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

I’m telling you that if an opportunity presents itself — take it. If you can walk — try to run instead. And if you can hop — fly.

You will be most successful in your chosen field — teaching children, building homes, legislating, litigating, making people healthier — if you spend some time off the easier roads.

As Helen Keller, who surely would be excused for taking an easy way, said: “Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”

As the mayor of a city recently rededicated to the challenge of being a great city, I want to offer you a challenge today: risk living and working in our city.

I keep reading that we must attract the best and the brightest people from across the country to live and work in St. Louis. I believe that we must work even harder to keep our homegrown best and brightest people right here at home.

We need you — and you might need us.