It’s that time of year when graduates don the cap and gown and walk across the stage to receive their diploma.

I recently ran across a graduation address that was given in 2002 by the late Mr. Rogers. It spoke to me about our current world, the mission of the church and nonprofit organizations, and the stewardship of our lives. Here is an excerpt from that graduation speech:

“Our world hangs like a magnificent jewel in the vastness of space. Every one of us is a part of that jewel, a facet of that jewel, and in the perspective of infinity, our differences are infinitesimal. We are intimately related. May we never even pretend that we are not. Deep down, we know that what matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves. What really matters is helping others win too, even if it means slowing down and changing our course now and then.

 [The Roman philosopher] Boethius wrote this: ‘Oh happy race of mortals if your hearts are ruled, as is the universe, by love.’ There is a deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive: love conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.

 So in all that you do, in all of your life, I wish you strength and the grace to make those choices which allow you – and your neighbor – to become the best of whoever you are.”

                                                                                      Fred McFeely Rogers, 2002

“Won’t you be my neighbor?”


John V. Clark, President/Partner
The James Company
(815) 353-8997