Marriage vote was a setback for liberty and equality, Bloomberg tells UNC grads

jprice@newsobserver.comMay 13, 2012 

— New York Mayor and financial media mogul Michael Bloomberg told nearly 5,700 UNC-Chapel Hill graduates Sunday they could glean some of the most useful lessons about life from a familiar source.

“Whatever plan you do have is probably going to change 100 times before you’re 30,” said Bloomberg, the main speaker at the spring commencement ceremony, held in Kenan Stadium. “And you don’t need to be an expert in something to try it. So what, then, do you need? I’m going to tell you, but really, all I’m going to do is remind you of a few things you’ve already learned here – just by watching Carolina basketball.”

He detailed seven pieces of advice and summed them up this way: “Teamwork is everything. Assist others. Risks are necessary. Hmmmm, the first three letters of those words are T-A-R – I wonder where this is going. Hustle, always. Elbows occasionally have to be used. Education is a lifelong journey. Love what you do. And if you put that list together, it of course spells Tar – Heel.”

Bloomberg said that technology will become the world’s most powerful weapon in fighting poverty, disease, repression and intolerance.

“The more light we shed on the nature of the world, the more we advance knowledge in science and technology, the more liberty we will spread,” he said.

To a roar of approval, Bloomberg also said that voters’ landslide approval Tuesday of an amendment to the state constitution that would bar same-sex marriage was on the wrong side of history

The referendum showed “just how much more work needs to be done to ensure freedom and equality for all people,” he said.

“I have no doubt that in your lifetime, liberty’s light will allow us to see more clearly the truth of our nation’s founding principles, and allow us to see all people, and all couples, as full and equal members of the American family,” Bloomberg told the graduates.

The event drew one of the largest commencement crowds in recent memory. University officials estimated that about 32,000 graduates, family and friends were in the stands and field seats of the stadium.