The Washington Post

But for 2 letters, Georgetown graduation unblemished

After days of wet and stormy weather, Georgetown University was able to hold outdoor commencement ceremonies.

Prominent public figures spoke, and thousands of degrees were awarded.

But things fell just short of perfection. The graduation program had a misspelling on the cover.

Instead of declaring the name of the institution to be “Georgetown University,” letters were transposed in the latter word. It read “Univeristy.”

An unfortunate matter, but it was not clear Sunday whether it was sufficiently consequential to take its place alongside the memorable 2009 episode in which players on the local major league baseball team took the field with uniform shirts reading “N atinals” (instead of Nationals).

Anyway, the university’s registrar issued a letter expressing regret for the error and saying that corrected copies of the program would be available.

It could not be determined how many of the grads and guests found the error to be any sort of blemish on the ceremonies, which on Saturday, at least, had full cooperation of the elements.

Georgetown’s exercises, including ceremonies for individual schools and colleges, were held indoors and out from Thursday through Sunday.

They included speeches, exhortations and expressions of hope from an array of dignitaries from many areas of achievement.

Speakers included scholars and educators, physicians and a lawyer, a senator, a former secretary of state and a Nobel Prize-winning economist, whose words, taken together, probably amounted to a full-fledged seminar on what to do with a university degree and how to do it.

Laura Chinchilla, the first female president of the Central American nation of Costa Rica, touched on values Saturday as she spoke to graduates of the School of Foreign Service.

“Values are living organisms,” she said. “They must be cared for in order to endure. They must be placed at the center of our lives.”

She hoped the school’s 400 bachelor’s degree recipients would “find the freedom to choose your path, the solidarity of your loved ones to pursue it and the peace that comes with knowing that you are well on your way.”

On Friday night, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright urged the more than 100 recipients of master’s degrees in foreign service to keep on learning. “Those who believe they are in full possession of the truth can be dangerous,” she said.

At Friday’s outdoor commencement for the MBA program at Georgetown’s business school, Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert M. Solow sketched for degree recipients what kind of economy they might face as the years go by. Among their responsibilities, he said, would be deciding what can be changed and “in what direction.”

In making such decisions, he said, he wished them luck.

“I really mean it,” he said. “Good luck with that.”


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