Author Thomas Friedman calls Grinnell College graduating class
Grinnell College Commencement speaker and author Tom Friedman called the Class of 2009 the "Re-Generation" and told the new graduates at the outdoor ceremony on Grinnell's Central Campus, "That is your job ... to rejuvenate, renew, and refresh America.
"We need the Re-Generation to create new values. We have to invent and innovate our way out of this crisis. Imagination is the single most important characteristic to have today. The liberal arts is the best fountain for imagination."
The three-time Pulitzer Prize winner known for bestsellers "Hot, Flat, and Crowded" and "The World is Flat" admonished the 350 new liberal-arts graduates to take responsibility, saying, "When now more than ever things are possible, fewer than ever things are guaranteed. Your degree is valuable. Your country needs you. Your imagination was sharpened here. You are prepared to be the Re-Generation."
Friedman received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Grinnell, along with three alumni: John F. Schwaller '69, president of the State University of New York at Potsdam, honorary doctor of humane letters degree; Jodie Levin-Epstein '72, deputy director of the Center for Law and Social Policy in Washington, D.C., honorary doctor of laws degree; and A. Gregory Thielmann '72, senior fellow with the Arms Control Association, Washington, D.C., honorary doctor of laws degree.