Commencement 2008

Craig Newmark: Everything He Ever Needed to Know He Learned From Case—and Craigslist

Commencement ProcessionA self-described "nerd" while a student at Case Western Reserve University 30-plus years ago, Craig Newmark said he and others like him tended to migrate to the earliest versions of the Internet because it offered the promise of acceptance.

"I realized, somehow, this thing included everyone . . . and that is the vision behind craigslist," the double alumnus told the audience, estimated at 7,000—including more than 1,500 graduates and families—gathered in the Veale Center for, and watching a live webcast of, the university’s 2008 commencement convocation.

Craigslist‚ which Newmark began as an e-mail list to inform friends about events, has since developed into an Internet classified service that today serves more than 30 million visitors from 450 cities and 50 countries.

Newmark said his Internet empire of ads, which is flourishing in the hands of its users, has taught him some of the most valuable lessons he could impart to the class of 2008: what may be considered the most "boring, commonplace, everyday stuff" are the very things that matter most to people and getting out of the way so others can do what they do best is one of the biggest secrets to success.

"Give people a break. Treat them like you want to be treated," Newmark said. "Sometimes the best thing we can do at the end of the day is live and let live, and it works pretty well."

Newmark's remarks and his occasional blog and Twitter entry during commencement events were among the bright spots on a day that started with overcast and rainy skies but saw clouds part and sun shine as the academic procession stepped off from Adelbert Hall.

During his brief, conversational commencement address, Newmark also noted the power of a world wide Web of like-minded individuals, be they computer geek or public figure, on or off the Internet.

"We've seen, as individuals working together, we can make some changes," he said.

"The Internet allows us . . . to get together to make some things happen. So get involved to make a difference," Newmark encouraged the graduates, "because we finally can."

Honorary Degrees

In addition to giving the commencement keynote address, Newmark received an honorary degree—to go with his previous bachelor's in 1975 and his master's degree in 1977 —from Case Western Reserve. Others granted honorary degrees during the ceremony include: David M. Crane, former undersecretary General of the United Nations and a founding chief prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone; Margaret J. Giannini, the director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Disability; and Raymond K. Shepardson, a community arts activist who has worked to preserve some of Cleveland's historic theaters.

Visionary Achievement

Peter B. Lewis, chair of Progressive Insurance Co. and one of the country's leading philanthropists, also was honored during the commencement event with Case Western Reserve's first President's Award for Visionary Achievement. The university established the award this year to recognize individuals who have distinguished themselves through significant and exceptional support to the university and the world.

Case Western Reserve Joins Prestigious Public Policy Programming Web Consortium

Campus community members interested in accessing—or sharing their own—thought-provoking public policy discussions on the Internet can synch with Case Western Reserve University's newest social networking tool.

The University Channel (UChannel), a collection of public affairs lectures, panels and events from academic institutions all over the world, features and distributes Case Western Reserve programming along with podcasts and video from other well-renowned universities, such as Yale, Harvard, Duke and Georgetown. The Center for Policy Studies oversees Case Western Reserve's involvement with the Web site. Read more.

Campus News

KSLpix.jpg Kelvin Smith Library invites the campus community to take its 24x7 Service Survey. The three-question, online survey will help the library's staff gauge areas of importance regarding 24-hour access to the facility.

libertymutual.JPGThe Office of Alumni Relations has partnered with Liberty Mutual to offer Case Western Reserve University alumni special savings on auto, home and renters insurance through Group Savings Plus. Two of Liberty Mutual's local sales representatives will be at Alumni House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., May 28 to provide free, no-obligation rate quotes. Attendees are asked to bring a copy of their current insurance declarations for comparisons. Lunch will be provided by the Office of Alumni Relations. RSVP by calling 800-866-6280.

For Faculty and Staff

Faculty are invited to view the Office of Faculty Diversity Web site, which features information on conducting faculty searches, links to policies, work/life balance resources, information for new faculty, Diversity@Case (links to diversity-focused organizations on campus and readings on diversity) and more.

For Students

This section will be updated occasionally during the summer. Refer to the "Campus News" section for general information.


The Harland G. Wood Memorial Lecture will take place from 3:30-4:30 p.m. May 20 at the Wolstein Research Building auditorium. The speaker will be Melissa Moore, a professor of biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts, on the topic of "Translation-dependent RNA Decay: From Trash Cans to Brake Pedals on Eukaryotic Gene Expression." Sponsored by Department of Biochemistry graduate students and post-docs in the School of Medicine.

Refer to the Web event calendar for a list of events and activities on campus and in the community today and in the days ahead.

The views and opinions of those invited to speak on campus do not necessarily reflect the views of the university administration or any other segment of the university community.

May 19, 2008

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Senior men's soccer forward, RJ French, recounts the last match, barbecue and other highlights of the team's trip to Brazil on the Varsity Athletics blog.

Case in the News

Craig Newmark of Craigslist addresses Case grads

The Plain Dealer, May 19, 2008
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark spoke to Case Western Reserve University graduates while he wrote to the world. While the Internet entrepreneur reminded the Case grads of their civic responsibility and commitment to customer service as they moved into the work force, he also used his phone to send messages and photos to his blog and add comments on the online conversation tool, Twitter.

Fed Up With Peace

The New York Times, May 18, 2008
An opinion piece about some Tibetans' impatience with the Dalai Lama's peaceful protests cites Melvyn Goldstein of Case Western Reserve University, whose book “The Snow Lion and the Dragon” remains among the best introductions to Tibet.

Dad gets to see daughter's first steps and steps and ...

The Plain Dealer, May 19, 2008
Sam Costanzo, 21, played soccer at Milford High School in Cincinnati. After running in two marathons there and another in Detroit, the Case Western Reserve University junior decided to give the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon a shot. He did it in a personal-best 3:26:25.

Analysis: Bush team battered by courts on environment

Sacramento Bee, May 19, 2008
While courts have rejected the Bush administration's bid to significantly rewrite America's bedrock conservation laws, Jonathan Adler, an environmental law expert, doesn't paint a better score card."We can say they have a poor record in court. I'm not sure we can say they had the worst record," said Adler, director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Higher Ed News

As Campuses Crumble, Budgets Are Crunched

The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 19, 2008
Colleges like to build, but they don't like to maintain, and costly deferred maintenance looms over many a campus.

The ‘Supply Side’ of Study Abroad

Inside Higher Ed, May 19, 2008
A new survey, released today, looks beyond the “demand” side of study abroad — the American colleges pushing for an increased focus on international education — to the “supply” of available programs and finds that responding institutions in Europe and elsewhere overwhelmingly seek to attract American students, along with those from other major “sending” countries.

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