Open letter to the Wheaton community
Posted on May 24, 2010
To the Wheaton community:
Wheaton's 2010 graduation ceremony this past Saturday was the most delightful I have ever experienced, as the warmth the students showed for their faculty and for each other was so overwhelming it was felt even by me, an outsider.
So it is with a heavy heart that I ask you to forgive me for mistakenly naming graduates of the other Wheaton College in my address.
I now know I should have named National Medal of Science winner Dr. Mary Ellen Avery, former New Jersey Governor and former EPA Director Christie Todd Whitman, literary agent Esther Newberg, Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener and Ken Babby, the youngest senior officer in the history of the Washington Post, among others. Thank goodness I got Lesley Stahl right.
I am mortified by my mistake, and can only hope the purity of my motive, to find a way to connect with the graduates and to encourage them to a life of service, will allow you to forgive me.
But whether or not you can, I want you to know that my brief visit left me deeply impressed with the quality of Wheaton. It was evident in the confidence of your graduates as they collected their diplomas, that they have been exceedingly well nurtured. And even with my blunder, the students were also gracious enough to react with a standing ovation. Now THAT is good manners.
Here is a copy of my speech (without, of course, the offending reference.)
With respect and every good wish forevermore,