Pelosi Delivers Commencement Address at the University of San Francisco

May 19, 2007, 01:00 ET from Office of the Speaker of the House

    WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Speaker Nancy Pelosi
 delivered the commencement address this morning at the University of San
 Francisco's McLaren School of Business. Below are her remarks as prepared:
     "Good morning. Thank you, Dean Johnson for your warm welcome. Father
 President Privett, trustees, faculty, staff, and families and friends of
 the graduates, especially to graduates: it is an honor to join you today to
 extend congratulations to the Class of 2007 of the McLaren School of
 Business at the University of San Francisco.
     "Father Privett, may I thank you publicly for the honor you extended to
 me by offering the invocation at my swearing in as Speaker of the House. We
 could not have been more inspired by his words. That day he challenged us
 to pursue the common good of all the people of this great nation of ours
 especially of those who need us the most.
     "Almost 150 years ago, a brave group of Jesuit priests came to this
 place to found San Francisco's first institution of higher learning. They
 envisioned it to be a place for students to study the past, question the
 present, and build a bright future. Today, those pioneers would see in the
 class of 2007 that their mission has succeeded.
     "Today, you join a long line of USF graduates who have and are
 contributing to the betterment of our nation, and indeed the world. 52
 years ago, Leo McCarthy sat where you sit now. He went on to become one of
 the most respected public figures in our country. Art Agnos spoke of him so
 beautifully -- what you should know about Mayor Agnos is that what he said
 about Leo he did himself. When Art was in the State Assembly he would
 encourage his employees to go out into the business world and bring their
 sense of social responsibility with them.
     "Both Art and I were mentored by Leo. Simply put for me, without Leo's
 guidance over the years, there would not be a woman Speaker of the House.
 Leo was a great patriot and he was proud that he was a veteran. Let us
 salute the men and women in uniform, our veterans. They are our heroes.
 They make us the land of the free and the home of the brave. True to the
 challenge, he was here to promote patriotism and was an advocate for social
     "Thank you, Jackie, Niall, Conna, Sharon, and the rest of the McCarthy
 family for sharing Leo with us. What you should know about Leo that is
 especially appropriate today, is that as Speaker of the California State
 Assembly and as Lieutenant Governor, Leo made promoting California's
 economy a high priority.
     "He saw how important globalization was. Indeed he was an inspiration
 for the new Congress's Innovation Agenda -- our commitment to
 competitiveness to keep America #1. He knew that innovation begins in the
 classroom and was an advocate for research and development, and good paying
     "Another one of his former staffers, now Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, is
 taking the lead in the House as the Congresswoman from Silicon Valley. His
 influence continues to be felt. The business world, into which you will
 enter, is a result of his tireless work to shape the future.
     "We know that America's world leadership will be secured by those who
 operate on the frontier of knowledge and discovery. From the beginning of
 our nation, that frontier has been aggressively expanded by young people,
 who are not wedded to old ways of thinking, or daunted by the encumbrances
 of the past or the present.
     "That entrepreneurial spirit led our founders to be magnificent
 disruptors of the status quo. Their optimism, confidence, and hope has been
 passed on from one generation to the next. The eternally young spirit of
 America has been a source of strength all of you bring forth today and has
 been a beacon of hope to the world. That optimism, faith, and confidence in
 our country, has made our country young.
     "In my travels as Speaker, I have met with presidents, prime ministers,
 and kings. But what impressed and inspired me the most were my encounters
 with young people. At a time when some world leaders question the value of
 constructive dialogue with our adversaries, young people are engaged in
 their own international dialogue, on campuses and through email and instant
 messaging and blogs. I need not tell you gathered here today. They are
 talking about their hopes for a brighter future -- of their desire for
 peace and prosperity.
     "The young people I met in my travels are weary of war. They want an
 end to violence whether in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, or the
 genocide in Darfur. They want to know if their leaders have the political
 courage to make the difficult decisions necessary for peace. They want a
 future and want to know if their leaders can produce economic opportunity,
 health care, and education for a better future. They want to stop global
 warming and preserve the planet -- God's beautiful creation.
     "That's what I heard in the Middle East, and that is what I hear from
 young people here at home. That unwillingness to accept the world as it is
 now -- the impatience of youth -- is why I have such faith in the future
 and in the class of 2007.
     "The philosopher Hannah Arendt once observed that nations are driven by
 the endless flywheel of violence believing that one last, one final violent
 gesture will bring peace. But each time they sow the seeds for more
 violence. Words, not weapons, are the tools of a new civilization.
     "The university is where words reign. The college campus is permanently
 the place where argument, debate, research, and articulate speech are and
 should be prized and maintained.
     "The University of San Francisco has given you these tools to
 understand the world, to clarify your values, and to enter into dialogue
 with others so that you can help promote better understanding for freedom
 and peace.
     "Pope Paul VI said, 'If you want peace, work for justice.' And today,
 you will go forth as the USF vision statement says, 'as the leaders who
 will fashion a more humane and just world.'
     "My message to the graduate today is: 'Know your power and follow your
 passion.' The power and passion that springs from the beauty of your
 dreams, the depth of your imagination and the strength of your values. I
 have confidence that you will succeed because of the magnificent education
 you have received at USF. I want to extend my congratulations to the class
 of 2007, wish you well and let you know you have a friend in the Speaker's
 office. Thank you and God bless you."

SOURCE Office of the Speaker of the House