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It’s an honor to address the graduates of Boston University’s Law School, which has grown in prestige and stature over the past three decades. I congratulate you, your parents and, of course, your professors and Dean (Ronald) Cass. You know graduation speakers come and go. I read a recent poll that since 1960, a whopping 72 percent of America’s college graduates don’t remember who their graduation speaker was, or what they said. So I’ll be brief and I will take the advice of a very learned native son, the late Tip O’Neill, who said “a graduation speaker is like a corpse at an Irish wake, you’re supposed to show up but not say much.” So, I am going to follow this advice. There are three messages that I want to leave you with today. The first one is about our technological revolution. As a Law School graduate of the new millennium, you can’t imagine working in a world without the Internet, laptop computers, cell phones, faxes and Palm Pilots. You are part of the global community that is right now making the world one. Your law degree will only be enhanced if you keep up with technology in this new era. But at the same time, you can’t let the technological revolution make you too impersonal. I’d like to share an illustration of just what I mean. As many of you following the news may know, I’ve been negotiating with OPEC nations to get oil prices down. And we’re still working on it — so hang in there. Last Friday, I wanted to reach one of the OPEC ministers to convey a message to him. After all, he is one of a handful of OPEC voting members. But, while he was in Washington, I was in New York. My staff — always eager to take advantage of technology, encouraged me to call him on the cell or send him an e-mail. While it seemed a bit extreme to jump on an airplane and travel back to my office for a one hour meeting, I did make the trip. And after our meeting, the minister commented that I showed him respect and didn’t just let a phone or conference call suffice. So again, while you should take advantage of all the technological advances available, you need to remember the importance of connecting personally and showing respect. And, I might add that it probably takes more billable hours for lawyers to meet in person than through a telephone conference call. The second message which I’d like to share is that you should think about the predominant international issue that your technological generation faces. Nuclear proliferation, ethnic wars, the spread of AIDS — these are going to be among your generation’s challenges. For your parents and mine, it was the Cold War. Regardless of what direction your law degree takes you when you leave B.U. today, I think your greatest challenge will be dealing with the strains on our planet…the environment. The legacy you give the environment will be what your generation is remembered for. Back in 1970, only one-third of America’s lakes and rivers were safe for fishing and swimming. But today, about two-thirds are safe, and smog in our country has been reduced by nearly a third. My generation was committed to making things better. Now it is up to your generation to continue the work. You will be faced with even more environmental challenges. We’re already experiencing floods, heat waves, and oceans moving into our shores a lot faster. The climate change problem is real. 56 percent of respondents to a recent national Roper poll said they sense that the next 10 years will be the last decade when humans will have a chance to save the earth from environmental catastrophe. Such concerns are not without foundation. For starters, it took until 1804 for the world’s population to total 1 billion people. By 1960 it was 3 billion. And that number has doubled to 6 billion in just four decades. The United Nations projects we’ll have nearly 9 billion by 2050. This is where my business and your business interconnect … through energy. The world’s population is growing rapidly and so is the consumption of energy. Worldwide energy consumption will rise by an anticipated 78 percent within 20 years. Energy consumption in the developing world is expected to more than double by 2020. Environmental quality could deteriorate sharply if we do not change how we generate electricity and how we power the vehicles in which we move about. So what are the challenges that you’re going to have? Finding necessary, new technologies: to allow you to have your Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) but they’ll be getting 40 to 80 miles per gallon; to bring solar power to your homes and offices; and to capture the wind to meet your energy needs. As you join the legal world and begin to prosper, you cannot lose sight of the importance of energy conservation and at looking alternative energy sources such as geothermal, biomass and hydro-power. Now my final message to you still intertwines with the technological revolution. Many don’t know that at the Energy Department … yes the Energy Department, we have the world’s fastest computers. Built by IBM, Blue Pacific is housed at our Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The other computer named Blue Mountain, was made by Silicon Graphics and is located in New Mexico at our Los Alamos National Lab. Both of these computers are capable of over 3 trillion mathematical operations per second. And by the middle of this decade, our goal is to have a computer that will be able to perform 100 trillion mathematical operations. And why should you care about this? Because computers’ applications are as broad as all human endeavors … from designing new drugs to forecasting the weather … from designing the next generation’s combustion engine to assuring that our nuclear stockpile remains safe and secure. As I conclude, I want you to realize that what is truly important is right around you. Yes, that law degree will move you into a new career in a prosperous economy, but turn your heads a little, to see the people around you. It sounds a little corny, but that’s what is important. Your friends, your family, this institution. For the last couple days, I’ve been at my 30th College Reunion at nearby Tufts University. But I hadn’t really gone back until this weekend. I saw my friends, my classmates and I wished that I been a better alum … given back a little bit, shared a little more, kept in touch with those people that in those days meant so much to me. I would say what is around you is what really matters. Neighborhood, tradition, remembering your roots, where you came from, your culture. I know each one of you is destined for good things because this is a great law school with strong graduates, but don’t just be good lawyers, be public citizens too. Boston University’s present and future is to be a fountainhead for teaching lawyers who understand both the pragmatics of law and have the skills to help develop sound public policy. You who graduate today step into a time that can be both challenging and remarkably fulfilling. Thank you, and good luck.

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