Remarks by Honorary Doctor of Laws Recipient
JOSEPH BACON MARTIN III
October 30, 2001
For 43 years, I have claimed to be a Davidson man. It is terrifically satisfying, at this point in my life, to have Davidson claim me! I thank the faculty and trustees sincerely.
When I left Davidson, I was without much of a clue as to what I would be doing. But I left with a sure sense of who I was, of what values were important to me.
In recent years, I have gained some local notoriety--primarily, I think, just because of carrying on despite my paralysis. But the paralyzed man you see is not who I am. Paralysis is just another thing I have been given to do. To tell the truth, some days I do it pretty well; other days, not so well. But it is not who I am.
I am who I was: a Davidson man, with the ideals and values that label still implies.
As today's students prepare to leave, to discover what they may be able to do, I hope they will not fail to discover who they are. There can be surprises, as there have been for me, in what you are given to do. Who-you-are will carry you through.
I thank the College for continuing to inspire me with the same ideals and values it taught me 40 years ago--and for the tremendous honor given to me this morning.
Thank you very much.
Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is ranked in the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.