Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

2013 Tribute Dinner: Homecoming and Family Weekend

  • DRP tribute dinner 2013

Below are the remarks as prepared for delivery by President Porterfield at the Tribute Dinner during Homecoming and Family Weekend on October 5, 2013.

The Future of Our Country

Welcome, everyone. Thank you for joining us on this Homecoming and Family Weekend.

It’s been an extraordinarily successful day: Record attendance, ecstatic families, and a great day of competition. I’m happy to report to you that our first place volleyball team moved to 14-2, our great football team defeated Dickinson to claim the coveted Conestoga Wagon, our 8-2 men’s soccer team just won a hard-fought battle against McDaniel, men’s cross country finished third out of 42 teams in the Paul Short Run today at Lehigh, and our undefeated, number two in the nation, field hockey team not only defeated Haverford 3-0, but watched the number one team in the country suffer its first defeat of the season, which bodes well for our position in the national rankings coming out on Tuesday.

We’re honored to gather so many extraordinary supporters of Franklin & Marshall College under one tent. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “great institutions reflect the lengthening shadows of remarkable individuals.” Indeed, tonight we pay tribute to each of you -- remarkable individuals -- who have given freely and generously of your time, your talent, your ideas, and your resources. And as a result, your shadows indeed lengthen with each year of remarkable educational achievement at F&M.

Founded with a gift of 200 pounds by an American original, and endowed, too, with the name of America’s greatest jurist, Franklin & Marshall has been fueled by philanthropy for more than two centuries, and has more than returned the investments made by our creators. That’s because through every era of American life, across the generations, F&M has educated the future of our country.

And who is that future?

The future of our country is a brilliant biology student born in 1935 in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania who took his F&M pre-med education to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and later invented the technology that allowed for intravenous feeding and saved countless lives.

The future of our country is a Philadelphia-born son of a minister who took his F&M education to the halls of power in Washington, DC and became the highest-ranking African American in congressional history.

The future of our country is an 18-year old field hockey and lacrosse player who grew up to become the first woman chair of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Stan Dudrick, Bill Gray, Mary Schapiro -- iconic Americans who forged lives of meaning on this very quadrangle.

You -- our supporters, our donors, our champions -- are creating the future of our country and our planet right now.

Because the future of our country and this world is a student from Old Lyme, Connecticut whose research in the cloud forests of Costa Rica will lead her to a Ph.D. and possibly solutions of Global Warming.

The future of our country is a senior from Vermont who has helped serve survivors of domestic violence in Lancaster City and brought new strategies in public health to townships in South Africa.

The future of our country is a 6’6” power forward on Coach Glenn Robinson’s basketball team from Harrison, New York who’s broken a sweat off the court too as an honors student in biochemistry heading off to medical school.

And the future of this country, too, are the young faculty who teach them and the young alums we’re still educating and the young people all across this country, high school or younger, for whom Franklin & Marshall College stands as a beacon of opportunity.

Thank you for your leadership. Never doubt how your giving creates the future and inspires others to do the same.

Because of your support, because of the work you do, because you enable our students to create the education they seek here and launch themselves into trajectories of success, we say thank you.

And now I have the great pleasure of introducing you to an extraordinary student -- a sophomore studying sciences, giving back to the college as a mentor to other students and a member of the women’s crew team.

She’s the first child of Colombian parents who brought her and her brother to this country when they were children to escape the cartels and the terrorism of their homeland. Supported by parents who sacrificed everything for their child’s future, she was educated brilliantly at Mast High School in Miami, Florida and came here on a scholarship to study science and make her name and honor her parents’ courage, empowered by an F&M education.

It is now my pleasure to introduce a member of the Class of 2016, Carolina Giraldo, the future of our country. 

  • The Future of Our Country
  • A printable file of the remarks as prepared for delivery by President Porterfield at the Tribute Dinner during Homecoming and Family Weekend on October 5. 2013.

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