December 3, 2011 by David Gillaspie
This is from a former UO student, parent of a recent UO grad and a current UO student:
My name is David Gillaspie. I met you after the graduation ceremonies this past June while you walked among the families gathered with their kids. You beamed with as much pride as any of them.
The University of Oregon is better today for your time there. I feel you showed students how to stand up when it’s easier to sit down; you showed the inner resolve needed to address those who don’t go face to face with the people you see every day, who instead see them as numbers on a balance sheet.
Dr. Lariviere, you’ve shown more Oregon grit than anyone on the higher education board expected. Thank you for that.
By the way you have carried yourself since your time at Oregon, and in Oregon, you’ve given a choice to all Oregonians: celebrate the man, or denigrate the man. In my view, you are a cause for celebration.
I like to imagine what you would have done at Penn State when their problems first surfaced.
Along with the education and degrees Oregon confers on students, you have given them more in the bargain. You’ve shown the importance of standing up for the causes you believe in because they are more important than any one person.
At the same time you’ve shown how to take responsibility for your actions.
When you come in as a solution to problems, and leave after illuminating the obstacles, you’ve created a teaching moment no one expected. Again, thank you.
It was heart warming to see you cruise the campus after graduation last June. Each year the graduates have their moments, but seeing the university leader sharing that moment on the same ground was a joy to this parent. There wasn’t a news clip writer or sound bite crew around to catch your reactions that day.
Instead, it was a man surveying the promise every student begins college with, that they will gain a better perspective on the lives ahead of them.
You’ve kept your promise, Richard. Remember that in the days ahead. You kept your promise.