Princeton’s newest graduates received their degrees June 3 and will head out into the world with fresh wisdom and advice, thanks to two prominent alumni — Norman Augustine ’57 *59, a retired chairman and CEO of Lockheed Martin Corp., who delivered remarks at the Graduate School Hooding Ceremony June 2; and Christopher Lu ’88, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, who spoke to seniors at Baccalaureate June 1.
Augustine encouraged the Ph.D. graduates to stray from their comfort zones and take on challenges in their careers. “Life is not a spectator sport,” he said. “Neither is it a dress rehearsal. The greatest regrets in life are not the opportunities one pursues and fails, but are the opportunities one fails to pursue.”
Lu shared the words of his father, an immigrant from China who, when interviewed for a magazine story about how middle-class families struggle to pay for college tuition, replied, “I’ve told my sons that your education is your inheritance.”
“An inheritance is something that your parents spend a lifetime accumulating,” Lu explained. “It is not something to be squandered. Unlike a gift, there are strings attached to an inheritance. There are responsibilities implied. An inheritance is something you grow and pass on to the next generation.”
Both speakers also emphasized service — in Augustine’s case, highlighting the role of service outside of one’s professional obligations, and in Lu’s case, either as a career path or as an avocation. Lu, with a nod to John F. Kennedy, added that service means “asking … what you can do for your country, and not simply waiting to be asked.”