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Don't fear the future and accompanying technological advances, U.S. Navy Adm. Harold W . Gehman Jr. told 2,200 Old Dominion University graduates Sunday at winter commencement ceremonies at Norfolk Scope.

Quoting baseball player Yogi Berra, Gehman said, "the future ain't what it used to be."

Gehman, commander in chief of NATO's Supreme Allied Command, Atlantic, and the U.S. Joint Forces Command, was the commencement speaker and received an honorary doctorate of science degree. U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala also received an honorary doctorate of laws.

Gehman has good reason for wishing the graduates well in their future endeavors.

"In the next few years, when 77 million baby boomers start to retire, your generation must earn enough to support the colossal payroll taxes needed to pay our Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid," he said with a grin Sunday. "We are counting on you. Don't fail us."

Gehman continued, "You now have the foundation to build productive lives that will be marked by exceptional contributions and good citizenship."

Shalala also urged graduates to follow their ambitions.

"Dream building is hard work," she said. "In exchange for opportunities, we are obliged to demonstrate responsibility. Do what you can to create peace and strong communities wherever you should land."

This article was posted on: December 20, 1999

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