Untitled Speech

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Untitled Speech


Untitled inspirational speech aimed at students within the geology program.



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Bibliographic Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: [item], [box], [folder], Byron Nelson Cooper Papers, 1925-1971, Ms1973-004, Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.

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Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech

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[Page 1]

        If you live for tomorrow with the objective of

making today’s dreams come true tomorrow, you

begin to pace yourself and to deny yourself small

rewards in favor of engineering bigger things. In

a matter of months one can gain a pretty accurate

assessment of his personal power and of his capacity for

work, and time enables one to not only

play the game but to keep his own side.

        The man who stands to gain the most from this

kind of self-paced living is the man who is above average

but less than a genius. This includes most of you; it includes

me; it includes most professional men to some degree. One

can outdistance his competitors if he begins to work at his

maximum level of effectiveness soon enough. The slower

you are, the earlier you have to begin to work

toward an objective w/ the idea of achieving it.

If you assess the cost of a really taxing effort and

literally case your objective, you are already half-way there.

        Fate can engineer magnificent pratfalls that knock

the best laid plans into a cocked hat. Beyond a point that

apoint                each man knows for himself, man is helpless. The world

much bigger than he is. But what fate deals out to most of us is

probably better than we deserve, so there’s no room for genuinely

justified bitterness. After all if you plow ahead but fail

for some uncontrolled factor that upset your red wagon,

you cannot be upset very long before you turn to tomorrow

and begin some work therapy on a new project.

        Every quarter or semester in a university is

a test of planning ahead. You learn to work,

you learn to meet deadlines, you learn to avoid the pitfalls

of goofing off. You learn how to pilot yourself to avoid

most of the bumps. Each setback only stiffens the determination

to win in the end. The daily lesson is the mind’s food, unless

you feed the mind it doesn’t grow. If you learn

many facts and concepts and formulae and quotations

and definitions your mind will do a fine job of filing

[Page 2]

these away for later recall, but you have to cast

mentally regularly every school day to be ready for the eventual

test or examination. Study today for tomorrow.

        How much do we really retain from what we “learn?”

50%? 25%? 10%? 5%? I’m inclined to believe we retain
more than we can rediscover through recall, The man who

plans for tomorrow is subconsciously reviewing an recalling

even as he plans ahead. Ideas flow the fastest

when the mental spigot is opened every day. I

have a theory that I believe to be fact – it is that you can

do what you will to do about 80% of the time. The rest of

the time you are unable to do so. Some are luckier than

others, but it is not blind fate that rules us, –

its a fate molded mainly by ourselves.

        If you have dreams of what you want the

and your ambition is to fullfill those dreams ·

Fight for them – make them come true.

        Some silly students believe you learn in college

what you have to know + then you go out + use your

knowledge. This just is not so. You leave here with a

bullied and bruised head + many facts though they

be filed in your mind will never be recalled. You

do leave even if its by flunking out –

with an enlarged view - of the world + of yourself.

        If college in some way or another shapes your

awareness, improves your scope of choice or discrimination,

and if it enlarges your frame of reference, you are

in a much better condition to do battle to make

your dreams concrete.

        Now you are here in a good college and

you are attending to major in a department that

believes that in lite you are here it is our

professional duty to help you find yourself.

It is our duty to get you to find out just how much you can do by pushing

you now and then to capacity. The idea is not

[Page 3]

to break you but to be the making of you. We are

often looked at as sadists or worse – as though

we get our kicks out of torturing the students. The opposite

is true.

The fun in teaching is seeing ideas take hold + minds

grow and develop.

        The longer I teach the better I know one cannot

assess or prognose the future of the potential of

a student. A dullard may catch fire. If the demon

will can be set afire, the mind can be made to do

wonders. You are born again. To do this is to

find out who you are + what you are. You must be able to

slip out of your skin and take an objective look

at you + at the state of affairs in which you will be


        Some believe it is better not to play a game

than to risk playing and losing. The only

way one improves his batting average is to play the

game more often.

        This earthly life shifted of all the transient

frivolity is pretty frightening. We are born so

that we can die and death is frightfully final

to us earth men. Some people inclined many people

prefer to sit down, live quietly, + wait to their

name is called to board a bus to eternity. They

are the pitied. What do they ever really enjoy. How

many big moments do they ever have.

Living is more fun than anything. So for as we have

we only live one. The good Lord has probably put

more talent in you than you will ever discover. But

aren’t you curious to see how much you live.

        Make up your mind to have one helluva worthwhile

time on this earth. Decide what you want to do + where

you want to be when you are 40 years old. There’s truth to

the old saying that in later life begins. Work now to

make the most of the later years.

[Page 4]

        Every year you complete here w/ a creditable academic

average of 2.0 or better – you have banked $2,500

on your future education which you can cash in by fellowship

subsidization in grad school. Who can afford to throw

away $2,500 or a year of his life? Alas, how many do just that.

        In planning for tomorrow your competitive senses

come to the fore. You want to achieve. There’s fun

in it even if you do not win every time. In

the beautiful cemetery at Lexington, Va. is an

epitaph on a spinster’s monument that reads:

        “She did the best she could” And I bet she did.

        I have thought about Mrs. Demarches? Beacon? almost

every day since I was touched by her magnificent

personality. I thought of her especially as I sat in the

great theatre of Oberammergau in 1960. An elderly

lady – I would say about 78 years old - sat beside me during

the afternoon portion of the performance. She entered +

sad down beside me in high spirits. She comforted the

lad lived to make this day come true. This was her great

moment. About 10 minutes after the performance had started I

cast a glance at the elderly lady only to see that she was fast

asleep. Truly for her, anticipation was greater than realization.

Her tired body just was not up to remaining awake. The

fun + the pleasure of seeing that she got herself to Oberammmergau

was the important thing – not the performance. The great moments

in one’s life are individually brief – few + far between for some – close

together for others – but collectively the great moments are

probably less than 00.01 percent of your conscious existence. Unless

somehow you learn how to get great joy out of uphill plugging

+ working toward some sense of goals life will be empty. The power is

within you to do what you will to do. If you can harness

that power to make it work for you You will have justified

your existence on this earth.

        There is a power that is greater than you, this I

really believe. In 1954 I discovered a graduating senior had

[Page 5]

made off with some books belonging to the school. I was so upset

by this that I penned him a hot letter telling him what

I would do if he did not apologize + make amends by

promising never to do it again. Within 5 minutes of the

time I mailed that letter, Someone had me up in my own

attic delving in a trunk for something I forgot what —

but in the process I was confronted with possession

of a book that did not belong to me - one that I hastily

saw returned to its rightful place. There is a Power

that works for good in all of us. If one can access

his own talents and get them working in a competitive way

with the Power we cannot control but which controls us,

there is little we cannot do.

        The great men of history have possessed a sense

of their histories being even as they lived. If

you tie your wagon to a star + work to reach the

goal you have set - you have given your life meaning

but perspective and some historicity – and in the

process if you do so I assure you that you will have

one helluva good time in the best sense of that


                        BNC 12-14-64

[Page 6]

of our society and they are determined to reverse the

breakdown in individual personal concern for the individual

and his problems, ambitions, and beliefs.

        Despite the campus unrest and needless violence, young people are

beginning to care for one another’s welfare. Many a thief, rogue

and murderer is socially