- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 7, 2006

President Bush yesterday delivered a commencement address to the 2006 graduating class of Oklahoma State University, urging students to get involved in the world and “serve a cause larger than yourselves.”

In an atypically folksy, conversational speech aimed at the young students about to set out into the world, the president talked about technological advances in his lifetime — from 45 rpm records to IPods, from smoke-spewing automobiles to hydrogen vehicles that emit no pollution.

“Your generation will face unprecedented choices because of technology,” Mr. Bush said. “We used manual typewriters instead of the personal computer. When we made a mistake while writing a paper, we didn’t have the luxury of spell-check. As a matter of fact, we used something that maybe some of you have heard of — it is big and bulky —it’s called a dictionary.

“Technology has helped improve almost every aspect of your life on campus — except maybe the cafeteria food,” he said to laughter.

But his address also contained a warning on the changes technology can bring.

“Science offers the prospect of eventual cures for terrible diseases — and temptations to manipulate life and violate human dignity,” he said in a reference to stem-cell research and cloning. “With the Internet, you can communicate instantly with someone halfway across the world — and isolate yourself from your family and neighbors.

“Your generation will have to resolve these dilemmas. My advice is to harness the promise of technology without becoming slaves to technology. My advice is, ensure that science serves the cause of humanity, and not the other way around.”

Mr. Bush also delivered a call to action for the young students, clad in black robes with mortarboards atop their heads.

“In this time of technological change and global competition, ultimately the character of America will be determined by your willingness to serve a cause larger than yourselves. The day will come when you’ll be asked, what have you done to build a better America than the one you found? I am confident that you will answer the call to service,” Mr. Bush said.

The president also showed his lighter side in the commencement address.

“Some of you are graduating with honors that involved much sacrifice and achievement. Others perhaps spent a little less time in the library. For all of you, I bring a message of great hope: There’s life after English Comp.

“Someday you’ll appreciate what you’ve learned here — and you’ll make your teachers proud. I know the professors who taught me English in college marvel at my way with words,” he said to laughter.

The speech was one of four Mr. Bush is delivering this commencement season. He will speak Thursday at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College; on May 27 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.; and on June 19 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point on Long Island, N.Y.

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