Still the Best Commencement Speech of All Time

There are many, many great candidates: JFK, Toni Morrison, Wynton Marsalis, John Stewart, to name just a few.  But this one by the great contemporary American writer George Saunders remains in your memory like advice from your closest friend.  His soft-spoken humane message is a great uplift at a time when we so dearly need it.

Not Whether But When: It’s Time for a Cabinet-Level U.S. Department of Resiliency

I was sleeping on Ground Zero of the magnitude-6.7 Northridge Earthquake in Los Angeles at 4:31am on January 17, 1994. I was an administrator living on the campus of Cal State Northridge. The entire campus was destroyed in 15 seconds. Among the sixty people who were killed in the earthquake, thirteen were our students who died in neighboring low-rise apartments when concrete support pillars pancaked. I-10, the interstate freeway that crisscrosses through the heart of Los Angeles, collapsed. This would be something akin to the Brooklyn Bridge going out.

August Wilson and the Four B's

Few American playwrights have been as explicit in naming influnces as August WIlson. In the dozens of interviews Wilson has granted in the eight years since Ma Rainey's Black Bottom appeared on Broadway in 1984. Wilson has been unusually forthcoming not only in citing his influences but in explaining specifically how the four B's can be found in his plays.

The Best Of: The Teacher Who Changed My Life

I was overwhelmed by the response to my Flex Day request to tweet or text me the name of the teacher who changed your life. I've received dozens and dozens of grateful, affirming messages like this one: "Dear Miss Cook. Thanks for being strict, demanding, fair and clear about your expectations. You were also loving and full of praise." We have created a lot of good karma for PCC by sending forth this wave of gratitude to our teachers.