This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Pictured, l-r: Judge Roberts '74, President Hill, Eric Holder, and Paula Madison '74. Photo credit: Spencer Ainsley

In Speech to Students, U.S. Attorney General Encourages Public Service

During his lecture “On Public Service and the Common Good” on April 22, Attorney General of the United States Eric P. Holder Jr. shared with Vassar students the rewards that have come from his own public service and told them that to do more for those less fortunate is not only an opportunity; it is their “obligation.”

“During the three decades I’ve spent in public service, I’ve learned that government alone cannot advance the cause of justice,” said Holder, who has the distinction of being the first African American U.S. attorney general in history. He praised Vassar students for doing their part to serve the local community by working with area schools and social service agencies, stating that these students are supporting the vision of founder Matthew Vassar whose goal was to make the college “a powerful tool to ensure peace, prosperity and justice.” Holder urged students to continue the tradition of working toward social justice.

“It may be tempting—when you look at the diversity of people walking the halls of Congress or at the man sitting in the Oval Office—to think that equality has been achieved for all Americans,” Holder said, but he reminded the audience that “It will take more than the election of the first African-American president—and certainly more than the appointment of the first African-American attorney general—to fully secure the promise of equality for every American.”

More than 1,000 people filled the Chapel to hear the president’s cabinet member speak. For Holder, the lecture came at the end of a busy day in Poughkeepsie. Earlier, the attorney general and his close friend, Judge Richard W. Roberts ’74, United States District Judge for the District of Columbia, had participated in a discussion with alumnae/i moderated by Vassar trustee Paula Madison ’74 and held at Alumnae House. Next, Holder had addressed a group of 130 social studies students and teachers from Hudson Valley high schools. Holder’s visit was organized by Vassar's Office of Regional Programs and facilitated by Judge Roberts.

May 2010

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