It was a special Mother's Day on the Brandeis campus, as thousands filled the Gosman Sports and Convocation Center to celebrate the university's 67th Commencement.

In a rousing keynote address, Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, urged graduates to develop a sense of self, to ask questions, to never stop learning, and to never stop seeking the truth.

“In your work, whatever you are doing, as a teacher, as a lawyer, a doctor, scientist, an artist, whatever you do, continue with your actions to make the point that nothing is more important than seeking the truth,” he said. “We can never say it enough that we must always call it out when it is not that way.”

The great-great-grandson of a Polish-American slave owner, Hrabowski convinced his parents to let him join the Children’s Crusade for civil rights in his hometown, Birmingham, Alabama in 1963 when he was only 12 years old. During his speech, Hrabowski recalled being a “frightened, chubby kid who loved mathematics,” when he marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. and was subsequently jailed with other children by Birmingham police. In the cell, King told Hrabowski and the other children, “What you do this day will impact children who have not been born.”

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