As we press forward on every front to realize a flexible world order, the role of the university becomes even more important, both as a reservoir of ideas and as a repository of the long view of the shore dimly seen.
“Knowledge is the great sun of the firmament,” said Senator Daniel Webster. “Life and power are scattered along its beams.”[audio:/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/john_f_kennedy-charter_day_address-university_of_california-berkeley-california-1962_03_23-detail-001.mp3|titles=John F. Kennedy in his Charter Day address at the University of California, Berkeley (Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California: March 23, 1962)]
In its light, we must think and act not only for the moment but for our time. I am reminded of the story of the great French Marshal Lyautey, who once asked his gardener to plant a tree. The gardener objected that the tree was slow-growing and would not reach maturity for a hundred years. The Marshal replied, “In that case, there is no time to lose, plant it this afternoon.”
Today a world of knowledge—a world of cooperation—a just and lasting peace—may be years away. But we have no time to lose. Let us plant our trees this afternoon.
— John F. Kennedy in his address at the University of California, Berkeley Charter Day (Memorial Stadium, Berkeley, California: March 23, 1962). Available in Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy; containing the public messages, speeches, and statements of the President, 1961-1963, Volume 1, (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962), p. 266. Complete audio recording available at The University of Virginia Miller Center of Public Affairs.
A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.
— Greek Proverb