In the beginning of your time here, those differences may have seemed more obvious than what you had in common. Yet despite all those differences, you created a community where your differences made our community stronger. They didn’t serve to tear it apart. You didn’t use difference to denigrate the other, but instead to celebrate the other.
I traveled this past month to Asia, to the Middle East and to Latin America. To countries whose politics and culture are very different than ours here in America. I met extraordinary people in every country. I met young people in Lahore, Pakistan, and Katmandu, Nepal, who are like you in so many ways despite differences in faith.
As you leave this very special place, this special community, I encourage you to take with you the values that we hold dear, that make Oglethorpe such a special place, and encourage you to strive to create similar communities wherever you land. Be the voice of respect, the voice of civility, and the voice of community. As you make your life and your living, be sure that you continue to make a difference wherever you are.
Lawrence M. Schall is president of Oglethorpe University.