Patrick to graduates: ‘Pragmatic idealism’ necessary in tough times

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick addressed a wet but enthusiastic Class of 2009 Sunday at the 153rd Tufts Commencement ceremony, telling the graduates to become “pragmatic idealists” to deal with the challenges ahead.

Under rainy skies, Patrick addressed over 3,000 graduating students and their families. His speech touted his personal rags-to-riches story and encouraged students to seek change through what he referred to as “pragmatic idealism.”

Patrick’s thesis came about 10 minutes into the 16-minute address: 

“With your training and credentials you could choose, if you wanted, to spend your whole lives averting your eyes from the daily calamity of less fortunate souls and circumstances, focused exclusively on your own achievement or survival, or just lost, like so many impractical idealists that I have known, in that existential turmoil of why bad things happen to good people. Or, you could look clearly at what’s wrong, as pragmatic idealists do, and set yourselves to make it right.”

Click the player below to hear the full address, courtesy of