Here is a transcript of the prepared remarks of Kenneth Feinberg
Kenneth R. Feinberg
Administrator, The One Fund Boston
May 19, 2013
Thank you, President Quigley, and distinguished officials of Curry College.
Members of the Faculty, parents, graduates and guests. I thank the President for his kind and very generous introduction. And I am particularly grateful that he did not refer to me as a “model” public servant. A few years ago – while processing BP oil spill claims in the Gulf of Mexico – I hosted a Town Hall meeting in a Louisiana parish. I was introduced by a local public official as a “model public servant.” A local fisherman in the audience grabbed the microphone and shouted to all assembled: “You all know the dictionary definition of a ‘model’; a small replica of the real thing.” Thank you, President Quigley, for your careful choice of words.
I note the Curry College School motto: “Rem Tene Verba Sequentur” (Grasp the subject and the words will follow.) The subject is today’s graduation; the following words – well, I have my fingers crossed!
It is said that “timing in life is everything.” And that is certainly true on this joyous Sunday here in my home State of Massachusetts, just a few miles from my birthplace and childhood home, Brockton. It was here in the Commonwealth just a few weeks ago that we suffered such a horrible tragedy, the devastating Marathon Bombings that have impacted not only our local communities but the entire Nation, and indeed, the world.
But out of this horror, and the senseless deaths and injuries, comes a renewed sense of community, a belief that is an essential part of our history and heritage. We are one people with a common vision based upon liberty, freedom and a determination to help one another in time of need. Never has the adage: “It takes a village” been more true than in the last month here in Massachusetts. We are one community, one “village,” forged by crisis and committed to coming to the aid of our fellow citizens.
In just one month, One Fund Boston has received over $30 million from thousands of individual donors around the world, all determined to help their neighbors confront unspeakable horror. Mayor Menino and Governor Patrick asked me to serve as Administrator of the Fund. Like you, like thousands of our fellow citizens here in the Commonwealth, I accepted the call. And next month I am determined to distribute all available funds to the victims of the bombings and their families.
We are all doing our part to prove that the bombings – instead of dividing us as a Nation – reinforce our common humanity, our common purpose, our love and respect for one another.
America is a very special place – and One Fund Boston is the latest example of this.
Life has a way of balancing out the good with the bad.
Last month, we confronted a storm characterized by suffering and misfortune.
Today, the sun shines on you, the graduates of this great Institution Founded in 1879 as the School of Elocution and Expression. (Your first Chancellor was none other than Alexander Graham Bell.) What started out as a College with a narrow mandate is today a School with a national reputation, offering Bachelor degrees in 20 majors, as well as 4 Master degrees. And both your Continuing Education Program and Program for Advancement of Learning (PAL) are benchmarks, setting a high bar for others to emulate.
Curry College is an essential part of the learning tradition that is a characteristic of our State. And you, the graduates of 2013, are the latest, best example of this noble and honored tradition.
You have every right today to take pride in what you have accomplished. Through hard work, commitment and discipline, you have achieved an important milestone – a step in the direction of a fruitful and successful life.
But do not assume that your degree and today’s celebration, guarantee success tomorrow. The road ahead is filled with new challenges and new mountains to climb.
If I have learned one lesson in my professional life dealing with unforeseen tragedy and misfortune, on 9/11, in the Gulf of Mexico, and now in Boston, it is this – take nothing for granted. Life has a way of throwing curveballs at all of us. Witness just a month ago at the Boston Marathon. Your degree today is not an insurance policy; it does not provide you a free pass for the future.
Do not succumb to a false sense of security, that there is only one path to success. Believe me, this is not so. Welcome life’s diversity with all of its countless possibilities.
Set your sights on concrete goals, and pursue them with the same vigor and determination that have led you to this wonderful day. Do not compromise; do not lose heart when the road appears rocky and uncertain. Keep your eyes on the prize, reinforced by the knowledge that your experience at Curry is proof-positive of your abilities, your optimism and your self-confidence.
You are the Nation’s future. Whatever your choices – business, medicine, law, education, public service and other pursuits – do not give up, even when you stumble. Our Nation needs you to answer the call. Your opportunities are almost limitless. There is more than one way to make out a life.
You are tomorrow’s leaders, selecting a personal path that will provide you the type of fulfillment that defines a life. The goal – to reach your own spiritual and practical fulfillment in areas as diverse as human nature.
But it is imperative that, whatever your personal choices, you remember Curry College and what it stands for. Over the past few years, it has been your friend and ally, an essential part of your evolving character and personality. Remember this in the months and years ahead, as you strive to succeed in whatever path you choose.
Bask in the glory of what you have accomplished today – and get ready for tomorrow. We as a Nation have a vested stake in you. Your personal happiness and success benefit all of your fellow citizens – and the United States of America.
Graduates of Curry College, I salute you.