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Tufts E-News: 2005 Commencement

Tufts E-News: 2005 CommencementIn his commencement address, Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis told members of the Class of 2005 to "continue fighting all those good fights that make progress possible."

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.22.05] "To paraphrase a song about New York, if you can make it at Tufts, you can make it anywhere," Greek Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis told Tufts' Class of 2005 on Sunday. In his commencement address, which both recalled the great thinkers of ancient Greece and praised the resolve characterizing the modern Greece which he now leads, Karamanlis asked graduates to carry the lessons they learned at Tufts with them as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Read the text of Prime Minister Karamanlis' address

Karamanlis cited the philosopher Plato's definition of education - "the particular learning that leads you through life to hate what should be hated and love what should be loved" - as being akin to the educational principles of Tufts.

"We can all figure out what should be hated... Some people as they grow older and find it hard to combat such evils," Karamanlis noted. "I hope and trust that your years at Tufts have fortified you with the stamina not to lose heart but to continue fighting all those good fights that make progress possible."

Despite the unseasonably cool weather and mostly cloudy skies, the 2,163 degree recipients - joined by faculty, staff, alumni, family and friends - were buoyant at Tufts' 149th commencement exercises.

Karamanlis (F82, F84), who was cheered particularly loudly by his soon-to-be fellow graduates of the Fletcher School, cited his time at Fletcher as formative in establishing his worldview.

"The multinational environment fostered at Tufts, an environment where differences are understood and respected, broadened my perspective and gave me a wider view of the world, as I know it did for all of you," the prime minister said.

Karamanlis, who was elected as the youngest prime minister in modern Greek history in March 2004, noted that his nation overcame the odds set against it last summer when Athens successfully hosted the Summer Olympics.

"My government intends to use the same determination and our unique position in Southeastern European members of both NATO and the European Union to help turn the whole region into an area of stability, cooperation, prosperity and peace," the Greek leader said.

He likened this tenacity to the ideals that are taught at Tufts.

"You were taught a passion for excellence and if you sustain that passion in your working life, you will not fail," he told the graduates. "If you just do enough to get by, you'll be okay, but if you put a little extra effort into what you have to do you'll stand out and you will be noticed."

As the graduates prepared to embark on the next phase of their lives, the leader of the Mediterranean nation offered seaworthy advice.

"You are now setting sail on a new journey, one that may sometimes be lonely and fearful but always exhilarating because your hand is now on the tiller and you are masters of your fate at last," Karamanlis exhorted the graduates.


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