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New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Calls For Independent Thought At Franklin And Marshall 2012 Commencement

Posted: 05/12/2012 5:17 pm Updated: 05/13/2012 12:08 pm

New York City Major Michael Bloomberg powered past his disappointment after not receiving promised ice cream from Franklin and Marshall College President Daniel Porterfield to remind graduating students to live a life of service.

His 20-minute address centered on thinking independently and evoked the college's founders Benjamin Franklin and John Marshall to inspire students. Bloomberg said the men ignored conventional thinking and had few nice words to say about sitting congressmen. Skip to the six-minute mark, where the speech really starts.

Take an idea–and then turn it on its head. After all, if Ben Franklin had accepted the way things were, we might still be turning on the lights with a match…It may be lonely at times, it may make you unpopular at times, and it may be dangerous to your career. But independence lies at the heart of innovation, progress and pride. So the next time someone tells you why something can’t be done, or why something is the best idea or the worst idea, remember Ben Franklin and his spirit of independence.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated that Franklin and Marshall College's president was Michael Porterfield. It is in fact Daniel Porterfield.

Take a look at other notable speeches coming up this month.

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  • Walter Isaacson

    Steve Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson will speak at<a href="http://cooper.edu/about/news/2012-commencement-speakers-announced" target="_hplink"> Cooper Union's </a> commencement.

  • Ira Glass

    The producer and host of This American Life will be the commencement speaker at <a href="http://towson.patch.com/articles/radio-host-baltimore-native-ira-glass-to-deliver-goucher-commencement" target="_hplink">Goucher College</a>.

  • Steve Carell

    Steve Carell will speak at <a href="http://www.princeton.edu/commencement/" target="_hplink">Princeton University</a>'s commencement. We're really hoping he'll say "<a href="http://www.theofficequotes.com/season-3/business-school" target="_hplink">May your hats fly</a> as high as your dreams." I don't know if you can tell we are excited about this.

  • Condoleezza Rice

    Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will speak at<a href="http://thescoopblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2012/03/condoleezza-rice-will-speak-at.html" target="_hplink"> Southern Methodist University</a>, where the George W. Bush library is being built.

  • Cory Booker

    Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, will give commencement addresses at both Hampton University in Hampton, Virg. (May 13) and Stanford University, in Palo Alto, Calif. (June 16-17).

  • Soledad O'Brien

    CNN's Soledad O'Brien will speak at the <a href="http://www.udel.edu/udaily/2012/mar/Commencement031312.html" target="_hplink">University of Delaware</a>.

  • Geoffrey Canada

    Geoffrey Canada will speak at the <a href="http://thedp.com/index.php/article/2012/03/geoffrey_canada_chosen_as_commencement_speaker" target="_hplink">University of Pennsylvania</a>. Canada is the founder of the Harlem Children's Zone, a comprehensive education and health program that aims to end the cycle of poverty for families in Central Harlem.

  • Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)

    U.S. Sen. Mark Warner will speak at <a href="http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/first-lady-michelle-obama-address-2012-graduating-seniors" target="_hplink">Virginia Tech University</a>.

  • Barbara Walters

    TV personality and journalist Barbara Walters will speak at <a href="http://www.yaledailynews.com/news/2012/apr/02/barbara-walters-speak-class-day/" target="_hplink">Yale University.</a>

  • Lisa Jackson

    Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson will speak at <a href="http://www.nola.com/education/index.ssf/2012/03/epa_administrator_lisa_jackson.html" target="_hplink">Tulane University</a> and the <a href="http://www.washington.edu/graduation/" target="_hplink">University of Washington</a>.

  • Jamaica Kincaid

    Novelist Jamaica Kincaid will speak at <a href="http://www.grinnell.edu/offices/confops/commencement/speaker" target="_hplink">Grinnell College</a>.

  • Athol Fugard

    Playwright Athol Fugard will receive an honorary degree at <a href="http://www.juilliard.edu/newsroom/releases/current/2012-May_Commencement.php" target="_hplink">The Juilliard School's commencement</a>.

  • James Earl Jones

    James Earl Jones will also receive an honorary degree at <a href="http://www.juilliard.edu/newsroom/releases/current/2012-May_Commencement.php" target="_hplink">The Juilliard School's commencement.</a>

  • Adam Savage

    Mythbuster Adam Savage will speak at <a href="http://www.slc.edu/news-events/news/2012-03-14-commencement-speaker-adam-savage-nr.html" target="_hplink">Sarah Lawrence College.</a>

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)

    U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will speak at the <a href="http://www.hartford.edu/arts-events/commencement/" target="_hplink">University of Hartford.</a>

  • Soledad O'Brien

    CNN's Starting Point anchor will speak at the University of Delaware.

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Filed by William McGuinness  |