Work hard, take risks, 440 Coppin seniors are advised Addressing class of '93 commencement, UM chancellor lauds 'dynamic' campus

May 17, 1993|By Michael Ollove | Michael Ollove,Staff Writer

Donald N. Langenberg, chancellor of the University of Maryland System, offered Coppin State College's graduating seniors a four-part prescription for their future yesterday: Work hard, be brave, take risks and "do what you love and love what you do."

As the keynote speaker at commencement exercises held at the Baltimore Arena, Dr. Langenberg avoided the topical and the pointed, instead opting to dispense general advice to the 440 students receiving their diplomas.

His remarks were brief -- barely 10 minutes -- and were received with polite applause.

The audience might have been more interested if the chancellor had offered his thoughts on Coppin's future during an era of consolidation and budgetary strain, a subject within his purview. But Dr. Langenberg, chancellor since 1990, had nothing to say on that topic, instead praising the college as one of the "nation's most dynamic institutions."

And he passed on a high compliment to Coppin State President Calvin W. Burnett, a forceful advocate for his school who, the chancellor said, "exemplifies the special strengths of one who does what he loves and does it well."

Dr. Langenberg touted others whose successes exemplified the lesson he had come to teach.

He mentioned Marian Wright Edelman, head of the Children's Defense Fund, who he said has fought "for new national and state laws protecting children."

He spoke of Ronald H. Brown, the U.S. secretary of commerce, who he said has refused to knuckle under to the expectations of others, enabling him to succeed in politics.

And he dwelt on his favorite president, Harry S. Truman, "who worked hard, was brave and took chances to become one of our greatest presidents."

The chancellor also took time to remember his high school gym teacher in North Dakota, who was drafted to teach physics even though he had never taken a course in the subject in his life.

Together, Dr. Langenberg said, he and his classmates -- and their teacher -- learned much about the subject, enough to launch Dr. Langenberg in a career in physics.

"We worked hard, we tried to be brave, and we had a wonderful time," he said.

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