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Commencement 2018: 'Nothing is more important than seeking the truth'

Freeman A. Hrabowski III
Freeman A. Hrabowski III speaks during Commencement

It was a special Mother's Day on the Brandeis campus Sunday, as thousands filled the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center to celebrate the university's 67th Commencement.

In a rousing keynote address, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, urged graduates to develop a sense of self, to ask questions, to never stop learning, and to never stop seeking the truth.

“In your work, whatever you are doing, as a teacher, as a lawyer, a doctor, scientist, an artist, whatever you do, continue with your actions to make the point that nothing is more important than seeking the truth," he said. "We can never say it enough that we must always call it out when it is not that way.”

The great-great-grandson of a Polish-American slave owner, Hrabowski convinced his parents to let him join the Children’s Crusade for civil rights in his hometown, Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 when he was only 12 years old. During his speech, Hrabowski recalled being a “frightened, chubby kid who loved mathematics,” when he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and was subsequently jailed with other children by Birmingham police. In the cell, King told Hrabowski and the other children, “What you do this day will impact children who have not been born.”

"I had to be taught to believe in myself, even in jail,” Hrabowski said. “I had to be taught that I was not an animal, that I could not allow other people to define who I am. Do not ever let other people define who you are. You define who you are."

Read the rest of the article here.

Date: May 17, 2018