Serling’s 1972 Speech to Graduates: “Cherish What You Believe”

With graduation season in full swing, it seems an ideal time to share these illuminating passages from Rod Serling’s May 13, 1972 commencement address to New York’s Ithaca College:

Commencement means beginning. Those robes you now sweat under will soon be replaced by lab aprons, business suits, and whatever are the working uniforms of your chosen profession. And some of those professions will prove to be back-breaking impossibilities.

For some of you, the frustrations are only beginning. For all of you, the world society beyond this campus is going to prove tough, competitive, demanding, unforgiving of error, and full of rebuttals to the things you most earnestly believe.

So first – and most important – cherish what you believe. Don’t job off one single value judgment because it swims upstream against what appears to be a majority. Respect your own logic, your own sense of morality. Death and taxes may be the only absolutes. It’s for you to conjure up the modus operandi of how you live, act, react and hammer out a code of ethics.

Certainly listen to arguments; certainly ponder and respect the opinions of your peers. But there’s a point you compromise, and there’s a point all human beings draw a line and say, “Beyond this point, it’s not right or just or honest, and beyond this point I don’t move.”


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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 05/30/2018, in Rod Serling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. “Beyond this point, it’s not right or just or honest, and beyond this point I don’t move.”

    I think that sentiment is apparent in all his work. Taking a principled stand in 1972 was no easy feat. I was just escaping high school, and the peer pressure of the “majority” was almost inescapable.

    • You’re so right, Dan. I’m glad Serling wove that sentiment into his work — we need all the encouragement we can get.

  2. maddylovesherclassicfilms

    Fantastic speech. I dearly wish that I could have met him.

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