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The 6,000 Cornellians who graduated May 24 have far fewer employment opportunities than two previous generations of alumni. But rather than dwell on their own uncertain futures, they were encouraged at Commencement ceremonies "to realize that the world stands in desperate need of your skills and talents."

Cornell President David Skorton pointed out that Cornellians have the advantage of a liberal arts education, perhaps "the most useful and versatile education of all" especially in a time of national and personal economic uncertainty. A liberal arts education offers five important "habits of mind": critical thinking, self-expression, a nuanced view of the world that comes from exposure to the arts and humanities, a sense of ethics and cross-cultural understanding, he said. "The depth, the richness and the diversity of our ideas inspire cross-fertilization and originality."

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