2011-11-22 / Front Page

President Clinton Delivers Lecture During Visit To DePauw On Friday

Visit Marks The 25th Anniversary Of DU’s Ubben Lecture Series
by Michael Stanley Staff Writer

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited DePauw University on Friday afternoon where he spoke to a capacity crowd of 5,000 inside the Lilly Center as part of the Ubben Lecture Series. Clinton’s presentation focused on the promise of the 21st Century. (Staff Photo) Former U.S. President Bill Clinton visited DePauw University on Friday afternoon where he spoke to a capacity crowd of 5,000 inside the Lilly Center as part of the Ubben Lecture Series. Clinton’s presentation focused on the promise of the 21st Century. (Staff Photo) Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told a capacity crowd made up of students, the general public and media affiliates of the positive outlook he has on the world’s future, America’s future during a visit Friday afternoon to the Lilly Center on the campus of DePauw University in Greencastle.

Clinton’s visit was made possible by 1957 Depauw grads Tim and Sharon Ubben, who began bringing national and world leaders to the college campus in 1986 as part of the Ubben Lecture Series.

The former U.S. President was introduced by longtime friend and advisor, Vernon Jordan, a 1957 graduate of the university.

“It’s always exciting and fulfilling to return to De- Pauw University,” Jordan President Clinton Delivers Lecture During Visit To DePauw On Friday said. “During the administration of President Clinton, the United States enjoyed more peace and economic well-being than at any other time during our history. He was the first Democratic president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to win a second term. Under his leadership, we had the lowest unemployment rate of modern times, the lowest inflation rate in 30 years, the highest home ownership in the country’s history; dropping crime rates in many places and reduced welfare roles. He proposed the first balanced budget in decades and achieved a budget surplus. Since leaving office, he created the William J. Clinton Foundation with the mission to alleviate poverty, improve global health, strengthen economies and protect the environment. The Clinton Global Initiative has led the way in defining how we think about giving and philanthropy by fostering partnerships among governments, business and private citizens.”

Jordan said he and Clinton first became friend in 1973, noting that, “He is my man, and I am his man.”

“In that span of time, Bill Clinton has taught me that friendship is the medicine of life,” Jordan added.

Clinton extended his appreciation to the Ubbens for their work in bringing the world to Greencastle and highlighted Jordan’s friendship before addressing today’s issues facing the world.

“You are entering a world that is more interdependent than at any period in human history. All the world’s borders, even those that are accompanied by fences and walls, look more like nets than walls,” he said. “There are all kinds of crossings going on of information, culture, opinions, trafficking in people, drugs and weapons. Look how fast the financial crisis, which started in America, traveled to the far corners of the earth. Look now how we’re worried about the financial crisis in Europe traveling back to us.”

Clinton said his primary message to the crowd, specifically students of DePauw, was “You need to decide what you’d like the world to look like when the next generation of students graduates from DePauw. How do you want it to unfold in the most productive years of your life, when you’re bringing your own children into the world?”

Clinton said that Jordan left DePauw knowing what he wanted American to look like and has done more than anyone he knows to help America achieve and succeed.

“I know what I want your world to look like a generation from now, and if I could do it. I want a world of shared opportunities, shared prosperity and shared responsibilities,” Clinton said. “A world with a sense of community that embraces all of the diversities of the human species. A world that has a profound sense of obligation to the future. A world that uses the earth we’ve been given, but also preserves it for future generations. A world where we celebrate our differences, but understand that the only reason we can celebrate them is because we know that our common humanity matters more. If that’s the kind of world you want, you have to ask yourself, ‘How do I get it? What are the obstacles of achieving it? How do we make more good things happen, and how do we make fewer bad things happen?’ A lot of you are already doing that. I read that 87 percent of the students here, by the time you graduate, will have participated in community service or volunteer work. I thank you for that.”

Clinton noted that many students at DePauw have began organizations and programs to help members of the local community.

“This work is really important. First of all, you learn how to get along with different kinds of people, you learn about the problems other people face. You learn how to reach across the differences that too often divide us,” Clinton said. “In the process you create a microcosm of the world we need, one with more partners and fewer enemies. When you make a positive difference in someone else’s life, you increase the chance that they will do the same in turn. Despite all of these problems we have now – the current economic crisis, the threat of terrorism, the incredible fragility of the situation in Europe, the famine, the fighting in Africa, all of the divisions in Washington, the corruption and the authoritarianism in many governments still existing throughout the world, the threat of climate change and drastic depletion of local resources – despite of all these problems, the 21st Century world is full of enormous promise.”

For Spencer ladies Phyllis Tucker, Lois West, Elizabeth Shields and Margaret Tucker, the early arrival wait was well worth hearing Clinton’s views on the world.

“I really enjoyed it. We got a good parking place, so it worked out beautiful for us and we just had a great day. I think he’s so intelligent and knows how to run the country,” Phyllis Tucker said. “I liked his answer to the question about what he would do about the economy. He said if he were Obama, he would push a little harder to get his programs through. I just liked the whole thing. He is really a positive person, because you really didn’t hear anything negative. You felt good after listening to him, you didn’t feel like it was doom and gloom.”

Clinton spoke of the need to improve and transcend systems, and the opportunities budding in the world for young people. He said he wished he were 21 again to see what the future holds.

“He’s so knowledgeable about all of these countries, and he’s done something. After he was president, he didn’t just sit back. Getting his foundation started and doing all of the things he does takes work,” Tucker added. “He could just sit back and draw a paycheck, but he really has worked to better the world. He’s not selfish, he keeps working.”

Elizabeth Sparks said she was pleased to hear Clinton deliver an overall positive message about the future of the world we all live in.

“I enjoyed listening to him; I think he’s very intelligent and I listened very intently,” Shields said. “He was in office at a time when things were going very well, so it makes you think he had something to do with it. That’s the way I reason it. It was encouraging, because I think the country is going to come out of it (recession). I’ve seen a lot in my 88 years – if people think they’re poor now, they should have lived when I was growing up. Times were good during Clinton’s administration and I do think there is hope. I was just thrilled to get to go.”

To find out additional information about Clinton’s ongoing efforts worldwide, visit: www.clintonfoundation.org.

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