Commencement Address and Correspondence by Joseph A. Califano Jr.

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Commencement Address and Correspondence by Joseph A. Califano Jr.


This is a letter from the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, Joseph A. Califano Jr, to various university presidents. He states that he has enclosed the remarks he delivered at the commencement at the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, New York. In the speech, which is 10 pages, Calfano emphasizes the themes of diversity in higher education and the desire of the federal government not to unduly intrude into the operation of academic institutions. In the speech he quotes President Lyndon Johnson by saying education was the first work of the nation. He also references President Carter’s commitment to education. Calfano warns that if we use a quick fix to fix the United States education system we could eventually start to look like "Mussolini’s Italy." Califano says that small liberal arts colleges across America, such as the College of New Rochelle, have played a drastic role in the education system. Calfano references the fact that the Federal Government has recently become much more involved in higher education, which can be seen in the fact that many graduates are graduating because they got Federal assistance. Califano says that higher education will work, even without help from Washington. Calfano discusses the many graduates in the crowd, such as an 81 year-old woman named Mrs. May Dobson. Calfano congratulates the university for recently founding a new institution: The School of New Resources. He ends the speech with a parochial comment.


Commencement Address and Correspondence by Joseph A. Califano Jr.., 22 May 1977, R.G.6.2.5 Box 25 Folder 4, University Archives, Virginia Baptist Historical Society.









Richmond (Va.)

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Califano, Joseph, A., “Commencement Address and Correspondence by Joseph A. Califano Jr.,” University of Richmond Race & Racism Project, accessed May 19, 2024,