Governor Thornburgh at Widener’s 1983 Commencement

Pennsylvania Governor Richard Thornburgh spoke at Widener University’s 162nd Commencement on May 21, 1983. His address focused on how to successfully navigate the challenges of the economic changes of the early 1980s.

His advice was to “build a new generation of competence” to adapt to “an economy in transition.” He said

“Competence — just plain old-fashioned competence — is what is most required of the generation that would make our state and nation work again. Those who display it will be the real heroes of our time.”

Thornburgh urged the students to

“Tackle the challenge of an economy in transition by working harder, thinking deeper, managing better, producing more abundantly, and caring more intensively than you ever have done before.”

In Cold War parlance he stated that “the quiet and competent heroes of this particular struggle will claim their rightful places as keepers of freedom’s flame.”

Governor Thornburgh congratulated Widener University on helping with the transition to the new economy by adding a Computer Science major for the 1983-84 academic year.

Material from this post comes from a May 21, 1983 Press Release from The Dick Thornburgh Papers at the Pennsylvania State Archives.

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