College, Special Olympics Share Philosophy

Timothy Shriver, PhD, chairman of the Special Olympics, delivered a special message at the College’s 130th undergraduate commencement address, which is excerpted here.

“From a movement like ours, which depends on people who give from the heart, who combine body, mind, and spirit, we live, we thrive, we only survive if the graduates of Springfield College continue to carry their message into the world, so from all of us, thank you. 

“But think about the [Special Olympics] athletes … What seems impossible becomes possible. What seems divided, if you change your lens, might reveal wholeness and beauty and giftedness. What scares you, if you change your lens, might just be another human being just like you, seeking safety, seeking love, seeking belonging. 

“Serve others in a new way. Not because you are better or richer or smarter, but instead because you want to heal. 

“We all so often get each other wrong, don’t we? …
We judge and we assume and we conclude who matters and who doesn’t matter. Who’s valuable and who isn’t. We separate. We label. Labels become wounds. Wounds become identities. Identities become conflict. And conflict creates fear and anger and blame. All because we started out in getting each other wrong. 

“Keep your iSpirit updated …. Download all the free apps: beauty, wonder, awe, truth, justice. 

“Why are you here? For unity or division? The syllabus now is your life.  Every sunrise is a quiz. Every person you meet is a new reading. Please try not to judge that reading by the cover. Every moment of sadness is an invitation to go back and visit the professor. There is a final, but you won’t attend it here. 

View the speech at springfield.edu/Shriver.