The Nation: A Very Few Words

Commencement speeches are often exercises in bombast that run second only to the Senate filibuster. The class of '72 at the University of Alabama received a rare treat this year: a 250-word commencement address, aptly titled "A Few Words," delivered by Dr. Larry T. McGehee, 36, chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin.

McGehee's terse speech consisted of six one-word rubrics—rage, reason, reading, laughter, lingering and love—with an average of 35 words each.

¶ On rage: "Age and education give you the authority, citizenship the responsibility, to rage against the mediocrity and injustice in your society, more especially in yourself. Heed Dylan...

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