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May 08, 1975 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-05-08

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"Your generation has every reason
to be cynical, or at least skeptical.
Under President Johnson, the promise
of the Great Society was falsified by
the performance. Under President
Nixon, too many exaggerated prom-
ises were knowingly false even when
they were made."
-Kingman Brewster

Commencement: A time of change

For thousands of students, the University's spring
commencement exercises last Saturday represented a
welcome end to all-night cramming, tiresome note-tak-
ing and exorbitant tuition payments.
As far as most were concerned, their University lives
were over. Thoughts turned to the f u t u r e: small
job markets, decisions concerning possible families and
homes, or, in some cases, the prospect of even more
"education" in a graduate school. But whether the day
was considered the end of a painful experience or the
beginning to success in years ahead, it was, for all, a
turning point.
AND TO RECORD that moment, proud parents snap-
ped hundreds of photographs with their Polaroids and
Instamatics, as the graduates filed into Crisler Arena
from the warm, sunny morning outside. Well-dressed
children darted about during the processional, hoping
for, a glimpse of their dark-robed brothers and sisters.
For the class of '75, even without a grand commence-
ment ceremony, the last four years held plenty of
memorable events. It was a time of both progression
and regression, a time to ponder. It was also a time
of changes, particularly in basic national moods. In
a reflection upon one of those moods, the commence-
ment speaker spoke of cynicism in an address to the

"Your generation has every reason to be cynical,"
Kingman Brewster, Jr. told them," or at least skep-
BREWSTER, president of Yale University since
1963, explained that "Under President Johnson, the
promise of the Great Society was falsified by the per-
formance. Its hopes were sapped by the claims and
costs of an immoral war.
"Under President Nixon," Brewester continued, "too
many exaggerated promises were knowingly false even
when they were made."
But the Yale president, who was given an honorary
doctor of laws degree at the ceremony, added that
"Too often, cynicism is a cover-up for moral flabbiness,
a sense of moral failure, or maybe just moral laziness.
Too many of us who are quick to point the finger of
accusation at the wrong-doers are too slow to recognize
the cynicism in ourselves."
Brewster's presence at commencement sharply con-
trasted the absence of another man and the protest
associated with him.
SOON AFTER the University announced that Secre-
tary of State Henry Kissinger had tentatively agreed to
speak at the exercises, local political groups joined
arms for what they hoped would result in a loud, mas-
sive outpouring of protest against Kissinger and the
foreign policy he often represents.

But ten days before the weekend commencer
the State Department in Washington announced
the "press of business will make it impossible" fo
secretary to attend.
Even more quickly than they were organized
plans for demonstrations, protest and a "counter-
mencement" dissipated into nothingness. A de
perhaps, for the proponents of cynicism.
IN ADDITION to cyncism, the capless, silver-h
Brewster discussed the roots of personal satisfa
and said that true satisfaction results from he
someone else to be free. Offering himself and his
counterpart, President Robben Fleming, as exam
Brewster said:
"Anyone with executive responsibility occasio:
has the delight of knowing . ..-that because of s
thing he promoted, or permitted, or prevneted, somr
else had a chance to develop capacities or seize 01
tunities which otherwise would've been beyond
Photos by
Pauline Lubens

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