Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Full and Festive Graduation Day: UBB American Studies Program,Class of, 2009

Yesterday I gave my second graduation speech of the year, this one to the graduates of the Faculty of European Studies, American Studies Program. They had given me a day's warning that they would like me to speak, so I prepared brief remarks, which I will include below, just for the record.

With Professor Raluca Moldovan and Prodeacon Marius Jucan, congratulating the new graduates.

Cristina Guglia, the coordinator of the event, also asked me to send my remarks ahead of time for translation into Romanian, so that their parents and guests could hear them and understand what I had said. Rather than do so, I was aided by my colleague in accounting Alexandra MuĊ£iu, who provided the Romanian version. (If any reader would like to have that version, please send a remark with your e-mail address, and I will provide it.)

Remarks made at American Studies Graduation:

Dean Gyemant, Professor Jucan, Colleagues in the Faculty of European Studies, parents, relatives, friends of our honorees, and especially, dear “about-to-be graduates” of Babes-Bolyai University:

I thank you for inviting me to say a few words at your celebration today. Let me begin by thanking your parents for raising such wonderful kids, and for sending those wonderful young men and women to UBB. It has been an honor and a pleasure to work with the UBB American Studies students this term.

And thank you, students, for your active participation in our many discussions this semester.

The past few months have not been “the best of times” in America, but that fact has made this semester an especially good time to be teaching a course in American Economy and Business.

Given the excesses and corrupt practices represented by the “Sub-prime Lending” and “Bernie Madoff” scandals, among others, humility has been the only possible attitude for an American teacher of such a course. Yet, in the global financial repercussions of problems that began in America, the global importance of the American Economy was made obvious. Truly, as has been said many times, “When America sneezes, the world catches a cold.” So, for a European undergraduate interested in taking part in the global economy of the coming decades, to have focused one’s studies on understanding America was a sensible choice.

I hope that the three books you have read in our time together will continue to inform your views of America, and of the effects of Prices, “Animal Spirits,” and Central Banks on free market economies.

I hope that our wide-ranging class discussions of both American and Romanian cultures, of their similarity as topographically varied, diversely peopled, and naturally fertile countries, of their differing diversities, and of our shared “human condition” in many of its aspects, will be food for your thoughts as you progress through your lives.

Finally, I hope that you will keep in touch with “Professor Duncan,” the last American professor that you met in your undergraduate years at UBB, and keep him informed as you, no longer children, but now licensed adults, make your own paths in our shared, increasingly connected, and interdependent world.

Again, to you parents, as the father of six, I know what a proud moment this is for you good people.

Thank you, and may God bless us all.
Then, A Spontaneous Fulbright Dinner Party:

After the graduation, at which Charles Harris, Fulbrighter and AmStuds teacher at Lucian Blaga University in Sibiu was a welcome visitor/photographer, Charles, Kathy O., Shirl and I repaired to the bistro across the river from the apartment, and shared a festive dinner, our final dinner with each other for this Fulbright Year.

2 comments:

SKM said...

Now that the academic year is wrapping up, I am not looking forward to leaving our apt., Cluj, or Romania.
It has been a wonderful luxury to visit this fine country and to meet such wonderful & fun people here.
Thank you all!!

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