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CONDOLEEZZA RICE CHALLENGES HPU CLASS OF 2016 TO BECOME OPTIMISTS FOR THE WORLD
Unwavering optimism. For Dr. Condoleezza Rice, that’s been the foundation of her family’s legacy. It’s an obligation for those who’ve had the opportunity to receive an education, and it’s the reason that a black girl from Alabama could go on to become the 66th Secretary of State of the United States, she told High Point University’s graduating Class of 2016 today.
“Too often cynicism can be the fellow traveler of learning, and I know why,” Rice said, addressing 10,000 people on the Roberts Hall lawn. “History is full of much cruelty and suffering and darkness. It can be hard sometimes to believe that there’s a brighter future. But for all of our failings as human beings, for all of our current problems, more people today enjoy lives of opportunities than in all of human history.
“This progress has been the concerted effort not of cynics,” she said, “but of visionaries and optimists and idealists who deal with the world as it is but who never stop working for the world as it should be.”
Those optimists reflect Rice’s own family as she shared experiences from her childhood, a world that seems nearly incomprehensible for those in the Class of 2016. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, during the Civil Rights Era, and generations of her family endured hardships in the segregated South. Yet numerous family members earned degrees of higher education, including her grandfather, Rev. John Wesley Sr., her father, Rev. John Wesley Jr., and her aunt, Theresa Love, who held a Ph.D. in Victorian literature.
Because they remained optimistic they could receive an education despite challenges like poverty and segregation, her family was able to “change the pathway for the Rices for years to come.”
“Education is transformative,” she said. “It literally changes lives. That is why people for centuries have worked so hard to become educated. Education more than any other force can help to erase arbitrary divisions of race and class, arbitrary divisions of culture, and to unlock every person’s God-given potential.”
Rice spoke during a significant graduation for High Point University as it bestowed the first doctoral degrees in its history to educational leadership graduates. Achieving doctoral-degree granting status has been part of a major transformation at High Point University in the last 10 years.
“This is an extraordinary institution for both higher learning and higher living – a place where we embrace a growth mindset and focus ourselves on faithful courage,” said Dr. Nido Qubein, HPU president. “We welcome you, Secretary Rice, and commend your dedication to the academy and those it serves. You’re an outstanding advocate for excellence in both American classrooms and American public service.”
TINY HOUSE ON DISPLAY IN HIGH POINT
A tiny house, “The Pecan,” manufactured by Winston-Salem-based company Perch and Nest, will be on display in High Point for touring May 13, 14, and 15 at 1002 N. Main Street in the Uptowne district. It will be one of six sites in a 3-block historic district featuring local designer-created outdoor rooms during the event BLOOM! THE ART OF OUTDOOR LIVING. All proceeds will go toward the revitalization of the historic industrial quadrant of inner city High Point through the development of the Southwest High Point Greenway. The Pecan is for sale for $48,000 or the best acceptable offer. It is a real opportunity to dream about getting away from it all to “perch and nest” by visiting—in your own home—some of the most beautiful wilderness in the United States and literally staying as long as you like. Tickets for BLOOM! are $25 the day of the event and gets you into all six sites. Craft beer Brown Truck Brewery within the district will be open with an outdoor beer garden in the afternoons. Adams Inn, also in the district, will be serving foods and tea all day long.
Please visit highpointsouthwest.org for information on all of the sites and their locations—all within an easy 3-block walk. For those who would prefer to ride between sites, we’ll have a $20,000 GEM electric car-continuous shuttle supplied by Ilderton Dodge/ Jeep in High Point, as well as a trolley on Main Street on Friday and Saturday funded by the Uptowne merchants. There will also be a “glamping” exhibition with a large tent supplied by STOUT TENT that is available for future rentals to the location of your choice. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket information or call 336-689-8122. !