So, there we have three sets of heroes, the first set with clanging armor and heroic deeds consisting mainly of killing people; the second group also physically remarkable, exciting, not killing anybody but --at least NOT on the athletic field-- not doing a whole lot to improve the conditions of life for their fellow men; and finally, the mystery set deliberately incurring physical risks and pain but for a generous or creative purpose. As graduates, you are entitled to pick your own set. Go out and operate under whatever definition of heroism that appeals to you. But don’t be stopped short of heroism by feeling unknown or inadequate. Who is George Willig; Who is Emmeline Pankhurst. Well, who is Terry Claassen? Who is Carla Segal? Who is Tim Romer?
Be your own kind of hero. This great school has taught you how to ask questions and to make choices. You will have more to make. Be generous with them. In your own way, be a champion of mankind.
Of the mystery set, Prometheus had the best press agent-- Percy Bysshe Shelley--so his example is likely to last a long time. I want to close by reading Shelley’s final description of Prometheus’s heroism:
To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than the dead or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love and bear; to hope ‘til Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This, like thy glory-- Titan-- is to be
Good, great, joyous, beautiful, and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire and Victory.