The university’s 63rd commencement ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 18.
'Run to do good...Get your hands dirty'
The keynote speaker at Brandeis’ 62nd commencement told a personal story that resonated deeply with the university’s social justice commitment and risk-taking traditions as he encouraged the Class of 2013 to “Run to do good…Get your hands dirty…Wear out your shoes” making the world a better place.
Rick Hodes, a heroic physician who has spent the past quarter-century in Africa working with severely afflicted children, started his adult life as a geography major who hitchhiked through California and Alaska before deciding to be “a doctor in a place where I was really needed.”
In 1985, after medical school and stints in Bangladesh and India, he arrived in Ethiopia to teach for a year. He has been there ever since, serving Ethiopians migrating to Israel and a steadily widening group of refugees suffering from AIDS, hepatitis, spinal deformities and many other ailments. He has made numerous adoptions, and learned much about life, practically and spiritually.
Hodes acknowledged that “serial adoption is probably not the answer to spine disease in Africa,” but said, “one thing I’ve learned: Open your home. It changes everything. Open your home, and soon your heart is open as well.”
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