Note: A transcript of Christopher Dickey's remarks is available at
Newswise — In his address at Hamilton College’s commencement, award-winning author and journalist Christopher Dickey advised the Class of 2014 that
• “What counts is flexibility and creativity: our ability to take what we've learned in life and school and work, and think about it and build on it, and combine it with the new things being thrown at us by a world full of hugely creative people.”
Dickey, foreign editor of The Daily Beast, gave the address at Hamilton’s commencement on Sunday, May 25, in the Margaret Bundy Scott Field House where 500 students received bachelor’s degrees.
In his remarks Dickey reminded graduates that
• “As change rushes at us we are all, young and not so young, in this together. If you are 22 or 62, there is no sitting back and taking it easy
• “Change comes so fast that we almost forget it’s happening. You are old enough to remember when there were no smart phones, when gay marriage was a radical idea, when there was no such thing as a hybrid car. You may even remember the skyline of New York City with two big towers soaring toward the clouds at One World Trade Center. You may remember when most Americans had never heard about or thought about Afghanistan and Iraq. Change, after all, is not only about technology.
• “So, now, some of you are thinking, okay, this visionary inspirational futurology stuff is all fine, but someday soon -- not too soon, Lord -- I gotta get a job. And theories about the future are not going to get me a paycheck in the present.
• “Maybe not. Statistics show a fair number of college graduates end up flipping burgers for a while. But only for a while. And what we know about the future is going to have a hell of an impact on the way you and your work is valued as you break into the job market, and then break into it again, and again, and again. Because that's what all this disruption means,” Dickey said. “You are going to have many jobs, and with each one you'll have to reinvent yourself to a greater or lesser extent, or you’ll be reinvented by someone else.”
• He warned, “If money is all you want out of life, your life is probably going to be disappointing.”
• Dickey reminded graduates that “In today's world and in the future, most great accomplishments -- the great films, the great theater, the great architecture and music and design and industries and services will be collaborative. Hell, it’s always been that way. Would Shakespeare have been Shakespeare without the Globe Theater? Certainly not. We love to celebrate the auteur -- the lone genius, the haunted artist living in a garret -- but most of the art that moves the world -- that moves you -- is made by teams.
• “And that same sort of creative collaboration -- exactly the same sort of contentious, committed, competitive, cantankerous, inspiring, enlightening teamwork -- exists in the most successful enterprises, especially those that began as start-ups, but also in the bigger businesses that have understood how fast changes come and how important creative collaboration is to their survival. Those corporations that haven't learned that lesson are gone or going fast,” Dickey observed.
• “Creative teams are about creative relationships, and even when teams break up for one reason or another, some of those relationships endure and provide the nucleus for new teams. Which is a rather stilted way of saying, remember your friends,” he advised.
Dickey was awarded an honorary degree, along with Deborah Bial, founder and president of the Posse Foundation, and Thomas J. Schwarz ’66 president of Purchase College, State University of New York.