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Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Riner on Character at Dartmouth Convocation

I recommend you this brief but amazing speech by Dartmouth senior and Student Body President Noah Riner. The speech is his welcome to the class of '09. In his speech, he talks about how though the new class may be brilliant, intelligence doesn't matter much if you don't have character. He focuses on the nature of human beings and the need for redemption. It is encouraging to know that speeches such as this one can occur in the Ivy League or the Northeast in general....or any university for that matter.

An excerpt:

My purpose in mentioning the horrible things done by certain people on the Gulf Coast isn’t to condemn just them; rather it’s to condemn all of us. Supposedly, character is what you do when no one is looking, but I’m afraid to say all the things I’ve done when no one was looking. Cheating, stealing, lusting, you name it - How different are we? It’s easy to say that we’ve never gone that far: never stolen that much; never lusted so much that we’d rape; and the people we’ve cheated, they were rich anyway.

Let’s be honest, the differences are in degree. We have the same flaws as the individuals who pillaged New Orleans. Ours haven’t been given such free range, but they exist and are part of us all the same.

Noah Riner spent this summer before beginning his senior year at Dartmouth at Marine officer training at Quantico. Unfortunately, he broke his foot after about 6 weeks. It takes character to recover from that sort of blow. So he knows what he's talking about.


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