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Tallant Delivers 'Charge to the Class'
During UW-Eau Claire's Commencement
MAILED: Dec. 17, 1999|
Humanity, humility and humor are the three qualities a liberal education should provide, Dr. Steven Tallant told candidates for bachelor's and master's degrees during Saturday's winter commencement exercises at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
"It is very important to realize that these qualities are not the sole possessions of college graduates," Tallant said. "These qualities are found in people from every walk of life and socioeconomic status. In fact, most of you came to this university with these qualities. It is my hope that this university gave you the academic and experiential opportunities to respect, nurture and practice these qualities for the rest of your life."
Tallant, associate professor of social work and 1999 recipient of UW-Eau Claire's Excellence in Teaching Award, delivered the "Charge to the Class" to 666 candidates for degrees during the morning and afternoon ceremonies in Zorn Arena. His speech was titled "A Formula for Life: Humanity, Humility and Humor." In 1938, these three characteristics were identified by John Buchan in the Harvard Alumni Bulletin.
Tallant encouraged the students to appreciate and respect human life by being tolerant, benevolent, compassionate and merciful.
"We need to recognize and respect differences among humans," Tallant said. "It is the diversity of life that makes life rich and wonderful. It is the diversity of a town, city, state and nation that builds strength, creativity and character."
When discussing humility, Tallant said he thinks people should take pride in their accomplishments and develop strong self-esteem. However, the key is not to think too much of oneself or to take more credit than deserved for one's efforts.
"Individuals who overvalue themselves and claim too much credit for their efforts become self-centered and self-absorbed," Tallant said. "As a result, they tend to live in a delusion. Sometimes they believe the world owes them a living, that they are superior to others, that their ideas never need be challenged and that they do not need the help of others. None of these beliefs could be further from the truth.
"If you are truly an educated individual, you will be humble and will practice humility every day of your life because you will be in constant awe of the accomplishments of others, the interdependence of all human beings and the incredible complexities of the universe."
Finally, Tallant has concluded that every society incorporates some degree of humor in its culture and that humor and laughter are good for the human spirit.
"Don't take life so seriously," Tallant said. "Laugh every day of your life, and encourage others to laugh with you. It may be beneficial for all of us."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 20, 1999