We interrupt this wonky blog for a personal announcement: my daughter, Elizabeth, will be entering Tufts University this fall.
Of course, Elizabeth had built up an exemplary academic record (she is graduating as valedictorian from Albany Academy for Girls). Tufts had also invited applicants to submit optional videos. Elizabeth did one about her photography. Here’s a link to view it. I think it’s a great little video, showcasing some really excellent photographic work.
Elizabeth got into Tufts not only because of the foregoing, but because of her outstanding human qualities. I (and my wife) would like to take credit for all this. But that would be wrong. The fact is that Elizabeth, at 18, is very much a self-made person.
A couple of years ago, I knocked on her door late one night and found her sitting up reading Great Speeches in American History. She explained that she’d bought it in the Supreme Court bookshop during a Washington DC leadership conference. And when I took her to a bookstore to pick up some non-school summer reading, what she picked out was Faulkner, Thomas Mann, Hemingway, and even Dante. Elizabeth has a powerful intellectual curiosity, a desire to know and understand the world; she recognizes that it did not begin yesterday, and she has a deep desire to take her own place in the great human enterprise.
No doubt it’s helped to have a supportive home and school environment. But some years ago, Elizabeth took charge of her own life, in full existential recognition that her fate is in her own hands.
It is individuals like this who make the world. And make me an optimist about humanity.