|McConnell, Chao address Centre graduates
RELEASED: May 26, 2003
DANVILLE, KYU.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and his wife, U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, addressed Centre College's senior class Sunday, May 25, during graduation ceremonies. Two hundred and ten students were recognized during commencement.
McConnell told the graduates that America has an obligation to help the oppressed.
"The war in Iraq is over, but our commitment to the people of Iraq has just begun, and we are actively helping them to build a stable and democratic society," he said. "Through diplomacy, trade, sanctions, humanitarian assistance, andonly when absolutely necessarythe use of force, the United States must continue to defend itself, and encourage oppressive governments to undo the binds that keep their citizens captive."
Chao said the graduates were fortunate to enter a world that offers a variety of opportunities.
"I know that some of the headlines about the economy may sound discouraging. But the fact is, that even in today's challenging economic environment, there are many growth sectors where jobs are going unfilled because of the lack of qualified workers. In fact, many employers report that their biggest challenge is finding workers with a firm grounding in math, science and English. That's good news for you, because Centre College has given you such a strong foundation in these basics."
Valedictorian prizes were presented to Ben Beaton and Sara Boehm. Beaton, of Paducah, received the George Winston Welsh Valedictorian Prize as the top male graduate; and Boehm, of Cincinnati, received the Gavin Easton Wiseman Valedictorian Prize as the top female graduate.
Rick Axtell, College chaplain and assistant professor of religion, delivered the keynote address to the senior class during a morning baccalaureate service. Formal graduation exercises were held at 3 p.m. at Centre's Norton Center for the Arts.
Philanthropist and businessman William T. Young and Virginia Fox, former executive director and CEO of Kentucky Educational Television, were presented with honorary degrees.
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