Under a cloudless, blue sky, Duke University sent forth into the world a small army of undergraduates, doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses, ministers and Ph.D.s.
Some 15,000 graduates, professors, family and friends filled the east half of Wallace Wade Stadium, toasting under the summery sun.
Dempsey’s theme: “Make It Matter,” a phrase written on a small wood box atop his desk in the Pentagon. Inside are 129 laminated cards, each with a photo of the soldiers who died in Iraq under his command in 2003-2004.
“You will need to find, fix and be true to your moral compass, or else you will find yourself paralyzed. … You’ll quickly become too busy to give each moment the value it deserves, too driven to lead personally, too confident to be inquisitive, too certain to be approachable. … Make it matter.”