Iowa Senator Tom Harkin Inspired M.U.M.’s Class of 2013 with his Top Ten Rules To Live By at the University’s largest graduating class.
In true David Letterman-style, Iowa Senator Tom Harkin presented the M.U.M. Class of 2013 with his top-10 list—Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By. Senator Harkin gave the Commencement Address after receiving an honorary doctorate from the University and inspired everyone with his humorous wit and down-to-earth wisdom.
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin received an honorary Ph.D. from Maharishi University of Management before delivering the Commencement Address at the start of M.U.M.’s Graduation exercises, which took place last Saturday, May 25, 2013, in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge.
The University’s 38th Commencement graduated its largest class ever of 334 students from 54 countries, out of the 88 represented on campus. The Class of 2013 included 251 graduates and 83 undergraduates. Check this link to see a menu of videos from M.U.M.’s Commencement 2013
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Senator Harkin was awarded a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa degree for his extraordinary lifelong service and compassionate and progressive leadership for the state of Iowa and the United States of America. He has served in the Senate since 1985 and also served in the House of Representatives from 1975–1985. He is chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and is the seventh most senior Senator overall.
In his introduction, M.U.M. president Dr. Bevan Morris said, “We honor you for a lifetime of service to the State of Iowa and the United States of America, and your compassionate and progressive leadership. You have recognized that the quality of American life is shaped by the quality of American education.”
He said that Senator Harkin has been a very good friend of the University and greatly enjoyed all his visits here. “He has given us advice and encouragement for all the University’s programs—for natural methods of prevention of disease, organic agriculture, sustainable living, our Sustainable Living Center, as well as to our town, which is rising to being one of the greenest in the nation, under the leadership of Mayor Ed Malloy.”
Senator Harkin began his commencement address on a humorous note. He thanked the University for this distinguished award and said, “I come before you with a measure of humility. I realize I was probably selected to be your speaker today because Oprah wasn’t available.” This elicited a lot of laughter as he was referring to Oprah’s visit to Fairfield last year, which she aired, including a profile of the Maharishi School on the M.U.M. campus.
He then went on to say, “But I do want you to know of my highest respect and admiration that I have for this university, for what you have done, what you have become here, in Iowa, the nation, and the world, and especially for what I consider to be the best holistic approach to education and wellness in life at any university anywhere on the globe.”
He was referring to Maharishi University’s unique system of Consciousness-Based education and leadership role in wellness research and sustainability. M.U.M. was designated as a Center for Natural Medicine and Prevention and has received over $25 million from the NCCAM and NHLBI over the past 20 years to conduct collaborative medical research on the use of Transcendental Meditation as a complementary alternative approach to treat hypertension and cardiovascular disease in underserved minority populations, the results of which have been published in top peer-reviewed scientific journals.
The most recent study was published and publicized by the American Heart Association. Last year the AHA Journal Circulation published a long-term study showing a 48% lower risk of heart attack, stroke and death in a group already afflicted by heart disease that learned the practice of Transcendental Meditation. And this year the AHA published a paper recommending Transcendental Meditation as the only meditation practice that has been shown to lower blood pressure.
“Graduation,” Harkin said, “is one of the five great milestones in life; the others being birth, marriage, death, and the day you finally pay off your student loans.”
“I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re wondering, ‘How long is that guy gonna talk?’ The answer is not long.”
To answer he quoted advice from Father John Ryan, the Irish priest in his hometown when he was first asked to give a commencement address. The role of a commencement speaker is like the body at an old-fashioned Irish wake: “They need you in order to have the party but they don’t expect you to say very much.”
Senator Harkin said he chose a method for the day’s occasion that has imparted wisdom to millions of people throughout the years—“I speak of course, not of the Ten Commandments, but of David Letterman’s top ten list.” But his were more like suggestions for students to choose, depending on which ones they liked.
Harkin’s Top Ten Rules To Live By
10. Don’t panic. You will find a job. Don’t worry. “My confidence is based on one thing — because you came to the right school. I have nothing, as I said, but admiration for what this university has accomplished in such a short period of time. In a unique way you have put the ‘higher’ in higher education.”
“You folks would agree with William Butler Yeats who said that education is not about filling up a bucket but lighting a fire. And you carry that one step further. At this university education is also about training, focusing, freeing the mind. It’s about raising consciousness. Here you have been beautifully prepared intellectually and spiritually for all the challenges you will face in the world out there, so you should go forth with confidence.” He encouraged students to move to smaller Iowa towns to make a contribution.