Bishop Curry at HWS Commencement: «The Lord didn’t put us here just to consume the oxygen.»

GENEVA, N.Y., June 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — After a year delay due to COVID-19, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Class…

GENEVA, N.Y., June 6, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — After a year delay due to COVID-19, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges Class of 2020 returned to campus for an in-person ceremony where they heard a stirring Commencement Address from the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church.

A 1975 graduate of Hobart, Curry recalled his father telling him as a child: «The Lord didn’t put us here just to consume the oxygen.» That line became a rhetorical touchstone and directive to graduates.

Following the murder of George Floyd last year, Curry saw something from young protesters that he had not seen before. He described: «a rising up of a generation of young people, and more than that, they were the most multiethnic, multiracial, pluralistic, rainbow children of God that America has ever seen. And they — you — rose up and called on America: America, be America. Stand up for liberty and justice. America, be America: one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice, not just for some, but justice for all…. America, be that…then you’ll be a shining city on the hill.»

In these purpose-driven young people, who «showed us hope again» and «reminded us of faith again,» Curry said he recognized what his father meant when he said, «The Lord didn’t put us here just to consume the oxygen.»

Referencing the mission statement of Hobart and William Smith – «To Prepare Students to Lead Lives of Consequence» – Curry said: «Lives of consequence. Lives that matter. Lives that make a difference for the good. Lives lived for purposes greater than self. Lives that are lived for more than mere consumption and acquisition. The Lord didn’t put you here to just consume the oxygen.»

Like the Greatest Generation, Curry told the Classes of 2020 that they are «formed and forged in a crucible of hardship…. Part of your most important formation as human beings has happened in the crucible not of a Great Depression, but of a great pandemic.»

During the Commencement ceremony, Curry was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his remarkable life and career, defined by an «energetic, inspirational ministry of love that has touched the lives of millions of people around the world,» as President Joyce P. Jacobsen said while conferring the degree.

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SOURCE Hobart and William Smith Colleges