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The best speech Vartan Gregorian ever gave

The former Brown University president’s 2006 commencement address at Stanford University is a wonderful reminder that we are all part of a larger whole

Vartan Gregorian in New York on March 19, 2010.
Vartan Gregorian in New York on March 19, 2010.JOHN MARSHALL MANTELL/NYT

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Happy Monday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and I think all baseball games should be played at 11 a.m. Happy Patriots’ Day! Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 144,149 confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday, after adding 417 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 2 percent, and the first-time positive rate was 19 percent. The state announced one more death, bringing the total to 2,647. There were 133 people in the hospital, and 327,744 residents were fully vaccinated. 


You’ve probably heard the sad news that former Brown University president Vartan Gregorian died last week at the age of 87.

Gregorian led Brown from 1989 until 1997, and then immediately had an elementary school in Fox Point named after him shortly after he left the university to become president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York. He held that job until he died on April 15.

There were lots of thoughtful obituaries written on Gregorian, but if you have a few minutes, check out his poignant 2006 graduate commencement address at Stanford, his alma mater. It’s as relevant today as it was 15 years ago.

Here are two paragraphs, and the entire video is below.

”In conclusion, I would like to offer you just one last thought about our shared human condition. Today information floods over us, and a millisecond later in comes another flood of data and information, and then another and another. Images of pleasure and pain, fear and joy, love and hate assault us from all the angles. The world around us is full of raucous chatter and noise.”


”Amid all this cacophony, it’s hard to see ourselves as part of a larger whole, a continuing eternal harmony, that music of the spheres that the ancients thought we would hear only in our inner ear. Well, today I would like to remind you of your connection to history. Try to listen with your inner ears to those who went before you, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and on and on, who all wanted to be good ancestors to you.”


⚓ My colleague Alexa Gagosz talked to Dr. Jack Elias, a special advisor for health affairs at Brown University who is focusing on the proposed merger between Lifespan Corporation and Care New England. Read more.

⚓Governor Dan McKee’s administration is putting a hold on plans to dramatically reshape the state-run hospital for people with complex medical and psychiatric needs. Read more.

⚓ This week’s Ocean State Innovators Q&A is with Elvia Perez, the founder of EmpowerU, a tech startup that looks to address disparities by providing students with a pathway to obtaining an education. E-mail Alexa Gagosz with suggestions for this weekly interview. Read more.

⚓ If you need something fun to do during April vacation later this week, check out the Audubon Nature Center and Aquarium in Bristol. Read more.

⚓ In an op-ed for the Globe, Mary Ann Sorrentino writes that a woman’s right to choose needs to be protected. Read more.

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Health: Massachusetts officials will face their biggest test yet, starting Monday, when about 1.7 million more residents ages 16 through 54 become eligible for shots as the COVID-19 vaccination drive enters its fifth — and most pivotal — month. Read more.


Business: The big question for many retailers is whether they can correctly predict what consumers will flock to next, and then keep enough inventory in stock during a period of prolonged disruption in global supply chains. Read more.

Politics:  For years, federal prosecutors say, a former Massachusetts state representative scrambled for money wherever he could find it, tapping into his campaign account, borrowing from friends and family, securing bank loans under false pretenses, and cheating on his taxes. Read more.

Sports: The Boston-owned Liverpool Football Club joined 11 other European powerhouse soccer clubs in a rebellious plan to create a breakaway European “Super League” tournament that would not only supplant the prestigious and already lucrative Champions League but also alter the economic and competitive infrastructure of the world’s most popular sport. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.

⚓ Governor McKee and Rhode Island’s congressional delegation will kick off construction season at noon under the Providence Viaduct. 

⚓ The permanent Advisory Council for the Rhode Island House Veterans’ Affairs Committee meets at 10 a.m.

⚓ Facebook a launching its vaccine finder in Rhode Island today. By the way, all Rhode Islanders age 16 and over are now eligible for a vaccine.


⚓ Do you ❤ Rhode Map? Your subscription is what makes it possible. We’ve got a great offer here.

Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.