Remarks given by President Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph.D. on June 6, 2012 during the dedication of the Richard D. Winters Leadership Monument in Normandy, France.
Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Dick Winters attended a college inspired by the examples of Founding Fathers Ben Franklin and John Marshall, and then he showed on this hallowed ground that all can become great because all can serve.
A son of Franklin & Marshall College, Dick Winters carried one defining lesson into the crucible of history in Europe.
As captured in Larry Alexander’s biography, “Biggest Brother,” Maj. Winters determined “to go out every day and do the best he could in everything he tried… [He] considered this the most important lesson he took away from F&M.”
Major Winters graduated from Franklin & Marshall prepared to lead other young Americans into the most extraordinary work any of us living today could ever hope to do.
Together, the Easy Company and all who sacrificed in World War II showed the world that America shares democracy and that, in the name of civilization, good must confront evil.
Dick Winters was remarkable, and he was representative. He was one man, and he was every man.
To celebrate his life and share its meaning, Franklin & Marshall announces today the creation of a new honor—the Maj. Dick Winters ’41 Award for Perseverance & Leadership—with which we will recognize among our undergraduates those who demonstrate the greatest determination and strengths of character.
Saving freedom is not the work of one time but of all time. We who teach know that the talented students before us will face lifelong challenges harder than any exams we can design.
Some tests can be predicted but most come unannounced. In preserving Major Winters’ story we give this and all generations the timeless lesson F&M gave him:
“Go out every day and do the best you can in all you try.”
Thank you for recognizing the role that Franklin & Marshall College played in Major Winters’ life.