“They say, ‘If you dream it, you can do it.’ Don’t believe it,” said Larry Lucchino, president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox, to Bentley University’s 2012 graduating class. Taking a cue from Charles Wheelan’s book 10 1/2 Things No Commencement Speaker Has Ever Said, Lucchino offered candid, practical advice “instead of the rosy, overly optimistic platitudes graduates too often hear.”
He said fantasies are called dreams for a reason, and warned the students they’ll adjust and change plans more than a few times in the years ahead. As a two-time cancer survivor, Lucchino also reminded the graduates, “Life is harsh and difficult. It is sometimes terrible, and often ridiculously unfair.” Although everyone should expect good times and enjoy them when they arise, he also warned the class to prepare themselves for the adversity that will inevitably come their way.
In true Red Sox fashion, Lucchino drew a parallel between Bentley’s 2012 graduating class and the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. “We are not at the end of the journey,” he said, looking out over the sea of mortarboards. “Both Fenway Park and your education are works in progress. […] So, forever, we are joined by this year, 2012, a year which marks your great personal achievement, and Fenway Park’s historic achievement.”
While they’re on their journey, Lucchino told the students to stop worrying about what other people think of them, “because [people] hardly think of you at all. They’re too busy worry about what other people think of them.” And because of that, Lucchino challenged the graduates to avoid the “me-first” culture, saying, “Remember that humility is life’s greatest achievement. […] Cultivate it throughout your life and career. Humility does not extinguish self-confidence; it reflects it.”
And what better way to end a commencement than with some “Sweet Caroline?” After Lucchino donned his Bentley hat and Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson donned her Red Sox cap, they led the crowd in singing Red Sox Nation’s eighth inning traditional song. Who else can say Wally the Green Monster made an appearance at their commencement?
To hear Lucchino’s entire speech, you can watch the video below.