Before more than 12,000 people, President Bill Clinton told graduating students at Loyola Marymount University to “set the world on fire” by embracing positive interactions in a society where everyone is dependent upon one another.
“What does ‘set the world on fire’ mean, anyway?” he asked. “It means you can set the world on fire by the power of your imagination, by the gift of your passion, by the devotion of your heart and your skills to make your life richer, and to lift others.”
Don’t be afraid to fail, President Clinton added: “The only thing that matters is, how quick you get up and how resolutely you go on. It is not given to us, to win every battle, but to fight the right fights.”
President Clinton’s nephew was among the 1,600 seniors participating in today’s ceremony, which included students from five LMU schools and colleges, friends, families and faculty members.
In addition to his speech, President Clinton was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from the University for his lifelong commitment to social justice.
LMU President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., said the former president’s “commitment to improving the lives of other people, during and beyond his career in U.S. politics, embodies the ethos of becoming women and men with and for others.”
“President Clinton will inspire our graduates as they seek to lead lives of meaning, purpose, and global impact,” Snyder said.
William Jefferson Clinton was elected the 42nd president of the United States in 1992, and won re-election in 1996. During his eight years in office, he presided over the longest peacetime economic expansion in American history, initiated the most significant college opportunity programs since the GI Bill, expanded the federal work-study program, as well as developed new tax credits and scholarships to make education more accessible. Clinton signed major legislation including the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act. He won approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement and pursued policies that led to the decommissioning of over 1,700 nuclear missiles in the Soviet Union.
Upon leaving office, he founded the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving global health, education and economic opportunity. The Foundation sponsors several projects around the world, including the Clinton Global Initiative, which brings international thought leaders together to find solutions for worldwide challenges.
LMU’s Class of 2016 includes participants in Clinton Global Initiative University, which challenges students to pursue innovative projects aimed at solving global problems.
To view the commencement ceremony, click here.