"Most of all, think about how you — blessed with a world-class education — might act and work and be different when all of this is said and done," Tim Cook said

By Karen Mizoguchi
May 03, 2020 06:30 PM
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Tim Cook is congratulating the class of 2020!

On Sunday, the CEO of Apple Inc., 49, delivered a virtual commencement address for nearly 13,000 graduating Ohio State University students and their families. The in-person ceremony was originally scheduled for Sunday at Ohio Stadium, but was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Graduates, I am sorry that we’re not celebrating together today. Your class is a special one — marked by history like few others in OSU’s 150 years. And while we aren’t shoulder to shoulder in the Horseshoe, filling it to the rafters, I know your parents, your loved ones, your friends and teachers are no less overwhelmed with the pride in you and in what you have achieved," said Cook, who wore a black shirt with the OSU logo.

During the address, he advised graduates and their families to reflect on these unprecedented times and thank those working on the frontlines amid the global health crisis.

"Those of us who can look back on this time and remember inconveniences and even boredom can count themselves lucky. Many more will know real hardship and fear. Others still will be cut to the bone. And while we turn to our loved ones and friends for comfort, think hard about those whose impact on your life is more distant, but no less meaningful," Cook said.

"Think about an undocumented father, ignored or scorned by his community, who is putting himself at risk in the fields today to feed his family and yours. Think about a single mother, who stocks shelves at night and drives a city bus in the morning, without whom so much would fall apart," he said. "Think about the hospital orderly, scrubbing down the ward on hands and knees, whose work today is as solitary and sacred as a high priest purifying a temple."

Cook added, "Most of all, think about how you — blessed with a world-class education — might act and work and be different when all of this is said and done. Memorialize in your heart the way in which these times reveal what really matters: the health and well being of our loved ones, the resilience of our communities, and the sacrifices made by those — from doctors to garbage collectors — who give their whole selves to serving others."

To conclude his commencement speech, Cook, who graduated from Auburn University and earned his master's degree from Duke University, also encouraged graduates to "build a better future than the one you thought was certain."

"You're the pride of your parents and grandparents, of aunts, uncles and teachers, of the communities that shaped you in ways seen and unseen. You weren’t promised this day. Many of you had to fight hard to earn it. Now it’s yours. Think anew, act anew. Build a better future than the one you thought was certain. And in a fearful time, call us once again to hope," he said.

Cook's virtual commencement address for the university was announced in April. Last year, the businessman spoke at Tulane University.

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