Stump and Circumstance

Hillary Clinton barnstorms the 2005 graduations

Backhanded Bush whacks

Scientific integrity, specifically with regard to public policy making, has been under attack, under almost constant criticism. Interference in and abuse of publicly funded science, suppressing or disregarding scientific evidence, manipulating scientific advice, politicizing scientific advisory panels, are all on the rise. Oftentimes, it feels as though there are some among us in powerful positions who would like to turn Washington, D.C., into an evidence-free zone, where the facts are subordinate to opinions. —AT RPI

Abraham Lincoln . . . never lost his commitment to the importance of education. In the middle of the Civil War—which was the bloodiest conflict in our nation's history—he decided to ask for legislation and funding to create a system of land grant colleges. Now one would think that a president . . . would be focused completely on issues of war. But he understood something that some leaders forget: that in America we have to be investing today for a better future tomorrow. —AT CITY UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK HONORS COLLEGE, MAY 31

So many distinguished Americans have stepped up to this podium, and some are particularly well known for the speeches they gave from here. We all remember the speech that President Abraham Lincoln gave here that really tried to outline the importance of pursuing our highest ideals as the country was splitting apart over the question of slavery. Other presidents have also stood here: Grant, Cleveland, Taft, Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and, of course, Bill Clinton. In fact, President Clinton spoke here on May 12, 1993, about the importance of dealing with the federal deficit. We'll have to hear that speech again. —AT CUNY


What I've tried to do is join the resources of our colleges and universities with our employers to create opportunities for new jobs, and new economic prosperity. And here in the North Country, we've been experimenting. . . . What we did was work with businesses and help them become part of the global marketplace by marketing their wares on eBay. [I]t shocked me that there were so many people who had good services and products to offer here but didn't have a year-round marketplace . . . because of the seasonal nature of tourism. —AT PAUL SMITH'S

I am still convinced that we have yet to tap the full potential of the tourism market in New York. . . . We have not only the beauty of the Adirondacks, the beauty of so much of the rest of the state . . . but we have the historical heritage and the culture as well. And we need to be smarter about how we present tourism to the rest of the world. And we have some assets that nobody else has. But we haven't yet put them together in a way I think is most effective in attracting people here. —AT PAUL SMITH'S

RPI has over $40 million in current annual research funding, much of which comes from industry. I was pleased to be a partner in helping to obtain federal funding to enable RPI to invest by purchasing high-speed computers needed to do today's complex biological research [and] to attract new faculty members. —AT RPI

Funny ha-ha

I was never very good in science. . . . When I was a very young girl, I wanted to be an astronaut, so I wrote off to this new agency called NASA and asked how a 12-year-old girl could become an astronaut. I got an answer back saying, "We're not accepting women into the astronaut program." I was somewhat comforted by my mother, who told me that my eyesight was much too bad anyway.

I next decided that I wanted to be a nuclear physicist. . . . But for me, there were a few obstacles along the way, you know, like the periodic table and things like that. Then I decided that I wanted to be a doctor, and I took all of the science courses in high school, planning to be a doctor, until I actually had the opportunity to shadow some doctors in our local hospital and passed out at the first sight of sickness.

So clearly, there wasn't anything left for me than to become a lawyer. —AT RPI

You might wonder what Gerry Ferraro and I were talking about as all of the graduates' names were called and they walked by. Could it have been a matter of great national or international significance? . . . No, actually, we were commenting on all of the shoes. I confess, having quite a few years separating me from my own graduation, to a bad case of shoe envy. I can't even remember when I was limber and young enough to wear some of those shoes. —AT MARYMOUNT

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