everyone can be a president
to those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, i say, well done. and to the c students—i say, you, too, can be president of the united states. 對于那些表現杰出、獲得各種獎項和榮譽的同學，我要說，你們真棒!對于那些c等生，我要說，你們將來也可以當美國總統!
remarks by the president in commencement address yale university new haven, connecticut listen to the president's remarks
the president: president levin, thank you very much. dean brodhead, fellows of the yale corporation, fellow yale parents, families, and graduates: it's a special privilege to receive this honorary degree. i was proud 33 years ago to receive my first yale degree. i'm even prouder that in your eyes i've earned this one.
i congratulate my fellow honorees. i'm pleased to share this honor with such a distinguished group. i'm particularly pleased to be here with my friend, the former of mexico. senor presidente, usted es un verdadero lider, y un gran amigo. (applause.)
i congratulate all the parents who are here. it's a glorious day when your child graduates from college. it's a great day for you; it's a great day for your wallet. (laughter.)
most important, congratulations to the class of XX. (applause.) to those of you who received honors, awards, and distinctions, i say, well done. and to the c students -- (applause) -- i say, you, too, can be president of the united states. (laughter and applause.) a yale degree is worth a lot, as i often remind dick cheney -- (laughter) -- who studied here, but left a little early. so now we know -- if you graduate from yale, you become president. if you drop out, you get to be vice president. (laughter.)
i appreciate so very much the chance to say a few words on this occasion. i know yale has a tradition of having no commencement speaker. i also know that you've carved out a single exception. most people think that to speak at yale's commencement, you have to be president. but over the years, the specifications have become far more demanding. now you have to be a yale graduate, you have to be president, and you have had to have lost the yale vote to ralph nader. ( applause.)
this is my first time back here in quite a while. i'm sure that each of you will make your own journey back at least a few times in your life. if you're like me, you won't remember everything you did here. (laughter.) that can be a good thing. (laughter.) but there will be some people, and some moments, you will never forget.
take, for example, my old classmate, dick brodhead, the accomplished dean of this great university. (applause.) i remember him as a young scholar, a bright lad -- (laughter) -- a hard worker. we both put a lot of time in at the sterling library, in the reading room, where they have those big leather couches. (laughter.) we had a mutual understanding -- dick wouldn't read aloud, and i wouldn't snore. (laughter.)
our course selections were different, as we followed our own path to academic discovery. dick was an english major, and loved the classics. i loved history, and pursued a diversified course of study. i like to think of it as the academic road less traveled. (laughter.)
for example, i took a class that studied japanese haiku. haiku, for the uninitiated, is a 15th century form of poetry, each poem having 17 syllables. haiku is fully understood only by the zen masters. as i recall, one of my academic advisers was worried about my selection of such a specialized course. he said i should focus on english. (laughter.) i still hear that quite often. ( laughter.) but my critics don't realize i don't make verbal gaffes. i'm speaking in the perfect forms and rhythms of ancient haiku. (applause.)
i did take english here, and i took a class called "the history and practice of american oratory," taught by rollin g. osterweis. (applause.) and, president levin, i want to give credit where credit is due. i want the entire world to know this -- everything i know about the spoken word, i learned right here at yale. (laughter.)
as a student, i tried to keep a low profile. it worked. last year the new york times interviewed john morton blum because the record showed i had taken one of his courses. casting his mind's eye over the parade of young faces down through the years, professor blum said, and i quote, "i don't have the foggiest recollection of him." (laughter.)
but i remember professor blum. and i still recall his dedication and high standards of learning. in my time there were many great professors at yale. and there still are. they're the ones who keep yale going after the commencements, after we have all gone our separate ways. i'm not sure i remembered to thank them the last time i was here, but now that i have a second chance, i thank the professors of yale university. (applause.)
that's how i've come to feel about the yale experience -- grateful. i studied hard, i played hard, and i made a lot of lifelong friends. what stays with you from college is the part of your education you hardly ever notice at the time. it's the expectations and examples around you, the ideals you believe in, and the friends you make.
in my time, they spoke of the "yale man." i was really never sure what that was. but i do think that i'm a better man because of yale. all universities, at their best, teach that degrees and honors are far from the full measure of life. nor is that measure taken in wealth or in titles. what matters most are the standards you live by, the consideration you show others, and the way you use the gifts you are given.
now you leave yale behind, carrying the written proof of your success here, at a college older than america. when i left here, i didn't have much in the way of a life plan. i knew some people who thought they did. but it turned out that we were all in for ups and downs, most of them unexpected. life takes its own turns, makes its own demands, writes its own story. and along the way, we start to realize we are not the author.
we begin to understand that life is ours to live, but not to waste, and that the greatest rewards are found in the commitments we make with our whole hearts -- to the people we love and to the causes that earn our sacrifice. i hope that each of you will know these rewards. i hope you will find them in your own way and your own time.
for some, that might mean some time in public service. and if you hear that calling, i hope you answer. each of you has unique gifts and you were given them for a reason. use them and share them. public service is one way -- an honorable way -- to mark your life with meaning.
today i visit not only my alma mater, but the city of my birth. my life began just a few blocks from here, but i was raised in west texas. from there, yale always seemed a world away, maybe a part of my future. now it's part of my past, and yale for me is a source of great pride.
i hope that there will come a time for you to return to yale to say that, and feel as i do today. and i hope you won't wait as long. congratulations and god bless. (applause.)
我知道，耶魯向來不邀請畢業典禮演講人，但近幾年來卻有例外。雖然破了例，但條件卻更 加嚴格――演講人必須同時具備兩種身份：耶魯校友、美國總統。我很驕傲在33年前領取 到第一個耶魯大學的學位。此次，我又榮獲耶魯榮譽學位感到光榮。
今天是諸位學友畢業的日子，在這里我首先要恭喜家長們：恭喜你們的子女修完學業順利畢 業，這是你們辛勤栽培后享受收獲的日子，也是你們錢包解放的大好日子!最重要的是，我 要恭喜耶魯畢業生們：對于那些表現杰出的同學，我要說，你真棒!對于那些丙等生，我要 說，你們將來也可以當美國總統!
耶魯學位價值不菲。我時常這么提醒切尼(現任美國副總統),他在早年也短暫就讀于此.所以 ,我想提醒正就讀于耶魯的莘莘學子，如果你們從耶魯順利畢業，你們也許可以當上總統; 如果你們中途輟學，那么你們只能當副總統了。
這是我畢業以來第二次回到這里。不過，一些人，一些事至今讓我念念不忘。舉例來說，我 記得我的老同學狄克.布洛德翰，如今他是偉大學校的杰出校長，他讀書時的聰明與刻苦至 今讓我記憶猶新。那時，我們經常泡在校圖書館那個有著大皮沙發的閱讀室里。我們有個默 契：他不大聲朗讀課文，我睡覺不打呼嚕。
后來，隨著學術探索的領域不同，我們選修的課程也各不相同，狄克主修英語，我主修歷史 。有趣的是，我選修過15世紀的日本俳句——每首詩只有17個音節，我想其意義只有禪學大 師才能明了。我記得一位學科顧問對我選修如此專精的課程表示擔憂，他說我應該選修英語 ?，F在，我仍然時常聽到這類建議。我在其他場合演講時，在語言表達上曾被人誤解過，我 的批評者不明白：我不是說錯了字，我是在復誦古代俳句的完美格式與聲韻呢。
我很感激耶魯大學給我們提供了這么好的讀書環境。讀書期間，我堅持“用功讀書，努力玩 樂”的思想，雖然不是很出色地完成了學業，但結交了許多讓我終生受益的朋友。也許有的 同學會認為，大學只是人生受教育的重要部分，殊不知，“大學生活”這四個字的內涵十分 深厚，它既包含豐富的學科知識和學術氛圍，也蘊涵著許多支撐人生成敗的觀念，還有那豐 富多彩的生活以及讀多值得結交的朋友┄┄
大家常說，“耶魯人”，我從不確定那是什么意思。但是我想，這一定是含著無限肯定與景 仰的褒義詞。是的，因為耶魯，因為有了在耶魯深造的經歷，你、我、他變成了一個個更加 優秀的人!你們離開耶魯后，我希望你們牢記“我的知識源自耶魯”，并以你們自己的方式 、自己的時間、自己的奮斗來體現對母校的熱愛，聽從時代的召喚，用信心與行動予以積極 響應。
你們每個人都有獨特的天賦，你們擁有的這些天賦就是你們參與 競爭、實現人生價值的資 本，好好利用它們，與人分享它們，將它們轉化為推進時代前進的動力吧!人生是要讓我們 去生活、而不是用來浪費的，只要肯爭上游，人人都可當總統!
這次我不僅回到母校，也是回到我的出生地，我就是在幾條街之外出生的。在那時，耶魯與 無知的我仿佛要隔了一個世界之遙，而現在，她是我過去的一部分。對我而言，耶魯是我知 識的源泉，力量的源泉，令我極度驕傲的源泉。我希望，將來你們以另外一種身份回到耶魯 時，能有與我一樣的感受并說出相同的話。我希望你們不要等太久，我也堅信耶魯邀請你回 校演講的日子也不會等太久。