Remarks Upon Departure From the
I can't tell you how much I've been enjoying my visit here at Mr. Jefferson's university. It's great to be an Irishman at a place where students eat in a dining room called ``O-Hill.''
Now, I know that this is exam week, so I won't keep you long. [Laughter] But for those of you that are taking finals in literature, let me offer one helpful hint. If you're asked to name the single most memorable passage written by William Shakespeare, the answer is not ``Wahoo-wa!'' Everyone knows it was Chaucer who wrote that. [Laughter]
I must confess, when I attended Eureka College -- and let me stop here and say hello to my brother TEEK's -- I was involved with so many activities that I didn't always give my studies the time I should have. Even now, I sometimes wonder how far I might have gone had I fully applied myself -- but academic performance really matters. You know, years ago, when the news first came out that I was running for Governor of California, someone asked my boss, the great studio head, Jack Warner of Warner Brothers, what he thought of the idea. And Warner reportedly said, ``No, no. Jimmy Stewart for Governor, Reagan for best friend.'' The only way I can explain that is Warner must have seen my grades. [Laughter]
But you know, as I look at this remarkable university which, from its academic ideals to its magnificent grounds, is so fully the product of a single man's vision, I have to say that Thomas Jefferson would be proud of this school -- yes, proud of how far it's come, but even more for how closely it's stayed true to its traditions. In fact, I remember when Thomas Jefferson told me personally that his -- [laughter] -- that his favorite movie was ``It's a Wonderful Life.'' I know that film has become an institution here. And if it would be hard to imagine the mythical village of Bedford Falls without George Bailey, as played by my friend Jimmy Stewart, think how much harder it would be to imagine Charlottesville, much less America, if there had been no Thomas Jefferson.
To imagine that is almost beyond our grasp, but the underlying idea is very plain and also very exciting: that your life not only can but necessarily must make such a great difference in the lives of others, and in the world, that without you little would be the same. And that's never been more true than for your generation because today the rate of change is so remarkable that each one of you will be creating, literally inventing, a new future each step of the way.
summer, when I spoke to the students at
is a new economy being created, one that exists beyond material resources or
centralized planning or government control. It's driven from the ground up by
our new heroes, the entrepreneurs, the explorers of
the modern era, who conceive, create, and produce, and in doing so discover the
future one piece at a time. I dare say that it's a path to the future that
Thomas Jefferson would have approved of. We know of his belief in the
individual. One glance at his beloved
fact is that in this age of entrepreneurship and innovation, our economy has
been thriving as never before. Starting 8 years ago, we charted a new course
So, you can play a special part in this future. You'll be its author: Take full advantage of the wonderful life that lies in store for you. Rejoice in your freedom, sample the full richness of the opportunities that lie before you. Help one another, trust in yourselves, and have faith in God, and you'll find more joy and happiness than you could imagine. And always remember that you are Americans, and it is your birthright to dream great dreams in this sweet and blessed land, truly the greatest, freest, strongest nation on Earth.
I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed being with you here today. Actually, my only regret is that I can't stay here for Monday's Cavaliers' game. So, let me say it now: ``Hoo-ra-ray, hoo-ra-ray, hey, hey, UVA!'' And let me ask you this: On Monday night, if you think of it, could you sing the ``Good Ole Song'' just one more time for the Gipper?
You know, I heard a cry there or something that sounded as if it was downplaying corporations. Well, you know, I grew up in a certain age -- --
[At this point, the President was interrupted by hecklers in the audience.]
You know, I get a sneaking feeling that if they had the kind of government they want nobody would be able to do what they're doing.
I know you've been standing out there in the cold a bit, and I know that I'm behind schedule so far. Well, I'm always behind schedule. [Laughter] But I just -- I've got a new hobby. And I'm going to let you in on it. I love to do it when I'm winding up a speech, and this is wound up. [Laughter]
I have taken to collecting jokes that I can absolutely prove and establish are made up by the Russian people and told to each other, among the Russian people, which reveals they've got a great sense of humor, but also shows that they have a certain cynicism about their way of life and their way of government.
you know, in the
Well, God bless you all, and thank you all.
Note: The President
spoke at on the steps of the
Rotunda. Following his remarks, the President returned to