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.
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. That can be a good thing. 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. I remember him as a young scholar, a bright lad 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. We had a mutual understanding—Dick wouldn't read aloud, and I wouldn't snore.
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.
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.