A conversation with Chancellor William McRaven, a Winthrop Roundtable Event/College of Charleston Libraries

Winthrop Roundtable sponsored event at The College of Charleston Libraries

Commencement Speech at the University of Texas


Team Backpack Journalist and many of our parents finished out our day on Saturday, by attending the Chancellor William McRaven’s “Conversation” held at The Gaillard sponsored by the Winthrop Round Table at the College of Charleston Library System.

Our mission is to offer to our “backpackers” opportunities to learn from all types of experiences. Hearing from a leader, such as former Admiral William McRaven, a Navy Seal, with 37 years of service to our country is one. (We have had many this past year and more to come. All about learning from the experience that we present to our “backpackers’ and their parents.)

Our prior research pulled up his commencement speech at Universiy of Texas in 2014, where he began with “get up every day and make your bed you have accomplished something!” That speech went viral and the link is here. (Note: A Backpack Journalist began in Texas with the Texas National Guard youth, with curriculum edited by Bobby Hawthorne from UT).

We learned that he wishes to see, and found our selves agreeing, a return to Chivalry and Civility in our country.

He was raised by a mother who expected him to be respectful both in his behavior and by addressing: “Yes Ma’am and No sir”. He looks for a return to Chivalry by both men and women, to act decent over their own self-interest, sacrifice and show humility and to respect humanity and to respect one another’s rights to have different opinions. He spoke of bravery and compassion, hope, love and inclusion for all citizens.

Gandhi was an example he shared of a man who exemplified humility in his journey to serve his nation and people.

Ralph Johnson, our own lowcountry hero from Viet Nam, and for today a US Navy Destroyer was named, was included and at that point, Chancellor McRaven, paused and paid a tribute to the bravery and courage of Ralph Johnson. He brought forth also often what is forgotten about the legacy of a real hero. Johnson, when seeing a live explosive coming towards men in his unit drove on it, saving the lives of two of his men.

The courage and bravery of Ralph Johnson has lived beyond his life through his family and community. (Note: The Johnson family has many who have continued to serve, with one individual preparing to graduate from the US Air Force Academy).

Chancellor McRaven has great hopes for America, as he reflected back over the past 17 years. He brought up the youth that today marched in N. Charleston against gun violence and across America. He is an eternal optimist and believes that America is the leader in the world and must keep strong! We are the good guys and supporting universal freedom.

In the Q&A that follows: advice – “never quit” when describing out of 150 applicants to the SEALS, only about 15 made it. “It’s not about strength, it’s about not quitting. – same as life!”

His book: “Make your bed, Little Things that can change your life and maybe the world” is a must read!