“This is your day; you should savor it and save it in your memory,” said distinguished Columbia professor Andrew Delbanco in his Marlboro commencement address on May 18. “Everyone here is immensely proud of you, and you have every reason to be proud of yourselves. More particularly, you should be proud of this college. Marlboro is one of the most distinctive institutions in the United States, and that distinctiveness is what I mainly want to talk about this morning.”
The author of College, What It Was, Is, and Should Be, as well many other books about American history and American culture today, Delbanco drew attention to how colleges like Marlboro are in the minority. He suggested that the 62 graduates of the class of 2014 have a much fuller preparation for life than the majority of college graduates.
“One of the virtues of smallness is that a college like yours can be what I like to call a rehearsal space for democracy: a place where students, and faculty, learn to speak with civility, listen with respect, and, most important, discover that you may walk into a classroom, or performance space, or town meeting with one point of view and walk out with another—or at least with productive doubt about what you were sure was true.”
Nicholas Delbanco, author and distinguished professor at the University of Michigan, said, “You may not know quite yet, because it’s habitual here…how fortunate you’ve been to study in a school where close attention to expressiveness continues to be paid. Where your teachers are your colleagues and engage in the same quest.” Both Delbanco brothers received an honorary degree from Marlboro as part of the commencement ceremony.