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.