- Speeches Given by Eastern Michigan University's students, faculty and guests.
Elliot Lee Richardson (July 20, 1920 – December 31, 1999) was an American lawyer and politician who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S. Attorney General, he was a prominent figure in the Watergate Scandal, and resigned rather than obey President Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. In this address, Richardson warns the graduates of Eastern Michigan University against being “mastered by change,” and instead encourages them to “be in charge of change,” and to resist the prevailing sense of cynicism felt in the late 60’s and early 70’s. At the conclusion of the ceremony, several people are awarded honorary degrees by President Sponberg, including new Detroit Mayor, Coleman Young.
Fred Rogers was an American television personality, musician, puppeteer, writer, producer, and Presbyterian minister. Rogers was famous for creating, hosting, and composing the theme music for the educational preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968–2001), which featured his kind-hearted, grandfatherly personality, and directness to his audiences. In this address to the graduating class of 1973, Rogers stresses his view that education is individually varied according to the student doing the learning; different student characteristics necessitate a diverse array of teaching methods. Rogers says that though the road to discovering one’s true self may be long, it is also worth the wait, especially with the help of intuitive and creative teachers. Rogers performs two of his own compositions, “Truth and Freedom,” and “There Are Many Ways to Say I Love You” during the presentation.
G. Mennen Williams (1911-1988) was the 41st Governor of Michigan, and later worked under John F. Kennedy as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and served as Chief Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court. In 1966, Williams unsuccessfully ran for Governor of Michigan. This audio recording captures Williams in a campaign stop, introducing primary speaker Robert Kennedy.
In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy visited Eastern Michigan University and delivered an address from the steps of Pease Auditorium. Kennedy began by rallying support for Congressman Wes Vivian, gubernatorial candidate Zolton Ferency, and G. Mennen Williams, poking fun at Williams’ wardrobe in the process. Kennedy next compares the voting record of Republican United States Congressmen to that of the Democratic vote, pointing out the shortcomings of several Republican voting records on issues such as an federal education act, Medicare, and the draft lottery, which he says should apply equally to everyone regardless of background or economic status. Embedded in Kennedy’s speech are humorous anecdotes and self-defacing quips.