On magnolias and superpowers
"Be in this world, be part of it, give to it. Never let yourself be anesthetized. Do not become distracted by the zoo full of fabulous beasts: the Lindsays, the Parises, the TomKats, the Britneys; by the pageant of fevered celebrity trainwreck that is paraded in front of you every time you log on to your computer.
"Do not let yourself be so seduced by your Mercedes and your barbecue that you forget what is most essential about yourself, that you forget what is worth caring about, that you forget you have powers to help others that you forget you have a heart that wants to help!
"And keep, always, your articulate and discerning minds about you, for although it can be assuaging to look at the Freedom Rides in retrospect, from our position in history, in some ways it can be too comfortable.
"It should never be."
--E. Gordon Gee, seventh Chancellor of Vanderbilt University, at the 132d Commencement Exercises; on Alumni Lawn at the University, in the one hundred thirty-third year since its founding, in Nashville.
Read the whole speech (PDF file).
LISTENING TO: Gee read his speech