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Madeleine Albright derides nationalism during keynote speech at UC San Diego commencement

Gary Robbins, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

SAN DIEGO -- UC San Diego's commencement ceremony took on a political tone Saturday as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright derided the forces of nationalism in a keynote address that clearly referred to policies of the Trump administration.

Albright, 82, also expressed concern about the spread of hate in the world, pointing to the deadly terrorist shooting that occurred at a synagogue Poway in April as an example of her concerns.

Her remarks were sporadically interrupted by applause as Albright spoke before a sprawling crowd at Rimac Field, during a weekend in which UCSD was conferring 9,325 degrees.

Like many commencement speakers, Albright began with a bit of humor, identifying herself as someone who had been born "halfway between the invention of the iPad and the discovery of fire."

That drew smiles from students, many who used smartphones to record or live stream themselves walking on to the field for commencement.

Albright addressed their anxieties of graduation day by repeating a quote that many attribute to the late author Theodor Geisel, the namesake of UCSD's Geisel Library.

 

"Don't cry because its over. Smile because it has happened."

Although Geisel often gets the credit, there's no evidence that he said those words.

Albright's speech soon turned serious.

"Thirty years ago this November, the Berlin Wall fell down," said Albright, who emigrated to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia in 1948. "America celebrated. We also learned that the world might become more, rather than less, dangerous as a result.

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