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In addressing several hundred Old Dominion University graduates at commencement Sunday, CBS News correspondent Randall Pinkston shared some "breaking news" he received via e-mail - a joke asking Santa Claus for a recount of who has been naughty and nice.

Pinkston used this reference to the presidential election to illustrate the never-ending surprises graduates will find as they leave Old Dominion.

"Your inner resolve has brought you to this point," Pinkston said. "Keep that tool with you as you confront the new challenges you will face."

His address was aimed at inspiring those in the caps and gowns to strive to be compassionate individuals in a world that is constantly challenging their resolve to be such. "Problems of all sorts are part of the human condition," he said. "But if we don't show compassion for our fellow human beings, it's pointless."

He also asked the graduates to practice good deeds now and not wait until they were wealthy and could donate money to organizations that help the less fortunate. "You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give."

In addition, he applauded Old Dominion's use of technology, notably the Internet, satellites and CD-ROMs, in exploring new avenues for education delivery. He noted that the university will hold a "virtual commencement" tomorrow for distance learning students at remote sites. "As students at Old Dominion," he told the graduates, "you've had a front row seat at seeing these new forms of learning."

Students who completed their degree requirements in August and December were eligible to participate in the ceremony held at Norfolk Scope. This included 2,036 undergraduates and 1,135 graduate students.

The ceremony also included the presentation of an honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Tim Miller, president of ACS Systems and Engineering Inc. in Virginia Beach, and posthumous emeritus designation for the university's fourth president, Joseph Marchello.

This article was posted on: December 17, 2000

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