America’s Graduates: Transform the Nation With Character

As graduates from American schools celebrate during this time of year, we congratulate them.

We commend their efforts, perseverance, and success. At the same time we encourage them to step up courageously to this pivotal time in history. They have the power to change the world by living lives of character.

Rising to the Occasion

Society is undergoing extraordinary challenges. America is experiencing an unprecedented head-on collision—a culture of violence and crisis of character.

This current crisis did not happen overnight. It has taken generations for us to arrive at this juncture. It will take generations to transform our nation. America’s youth are critical to this transformation—they are the future of our nation and the world.

Our youth must carry the torch and keep the flame of hope burning bright. They have the responsibility of turning the tide. Their energy, enthusiasm, and generosity will build a better world. The culture of violence and crisis of character may have its day. But in due time, the character of our youth will lift the nation.

Our youth are America’s treasure. Let us encourage them to rise to the occasion—their families, communities, and nation needs them. They deserve our affirmation and guidance to ignite a renewal of character within America and throughout the world.

Be a Person of Character

Although I am privileged to address large assemblies of youth, a recent venue deserves recognition. It represents the great hope we must have in our youth.

On Saturday, March 8, I delivered my signature presentation for college students titled “Be a Person of Character: Change the World” at Monmouth University.

This event celebrated the Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society’s induction ceremony. It honored academic excellence, character, and family with over 800 students, family, and friends in attendance. 

The 149 new members of the honor society—out of a class of close to 1,000—were inducted. They maintained a 3.5 or higher GPA in their first semester at Monmouth University. 

During my keynote, I asked the audience to take a journey with me. A candid picture of societal challenges was painted:

  • Our Culture of Violence and Character Crisis
  • Social Networking Ramifications
  • Broken Families 
  • The Gang Mentality
  • America’s “Get High” Society

We then moved from the challenges to the power of character:

  • Achieving Greatness through Sacrifice
  • Living a Life of Dignity
  • Kindness, Respect, Civility
  • Community Building
  • Bringing Out the Best in Others
  • Helping Others Do What Is Right

As I spoke, families responded with thunderous rounds of applause and three standing ovations. This fervor was directed to the students encouraging them to change the world through their character.

Afterward, Rianna Rae, an inductee and international business major, said, “I think it’s very important to recognize that the world can be a better place and our generation can be the change the world needs.”

Rae continued, “I got chills seeing friends and family of inductees standing and applauding us knowing that they believe we, as inductees, can really make a difference on campus, in the local community, and the world if we so choose.”

The Future Is Bright

At times it can seem that the future is bleak when bombarded by apathy and one crisis after another. But America’s future is bright because of these students and many like them nationwide. These young people, supported by the admiration of their families and friends remind us of the power of community, character, and encouragement.

Although my words implored the students to change the world, the highlight of the day was their enthusiasm, respectfulness, and energy. Our youth give America great hope and I am confident they will heed their call to reawakening the nation.

Vincent J. Bove
Vincent J. Bove

Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen To Their Cries.” For more information, see