Dr. Denzel Washington, “Courage & Failure” Commencement Speech at UPenn – ‘Nothing In Life Is Worthwhile Unless You Take Risks”

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Teaching Academic Writing

This book is highly practical while addressing the theory underpinning academic writing. It is organized into three parts. Part One: “Writing for Scholarly Publication”, takes a historical look at Academic Writing to inform contents for an Academic Writing course. Part Two, “Helping Preservice Teachers” gives an actual course plan used sucessfully by the author. Part Three, “The Passive Voice Controversy”, demythifies the active voice / passive voice controversy. This is a must have for teachers and students alike.

Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

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Denzel Washington (AP photo)

Denzel Washington received an honorary doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania, where he spoke to the graduating class about courage and failure. The Associated Press reports the actor told students to “have the guts to fail.” It was something he did this morning on stage, where he admitted to being nervous to be speaking to the academic crowd of about 5,000 people.

Denzel Washington

PHILADELPHIA — Denzel Washington confessed to a bit of stage fright in his latest role: Commencement speaker at the University of Pennsylvania.

Addressing about 5,000 graduates at the Ivy League school in Philadelphia on Monday, the Oscar- and Tony-winning actor said the academic ceremony was “a little overwhelming and out of my comfort zone.”

And that was his reason for accepting the invitation to speak, he said.

“I had to come exactly because I might make a fool of myself,” said Washington. “I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nothing.”

The 56-year-old star of “Malcolm X” and “Philadelphia” delivered a humorous speech with a sobering truth: Failure is inevitable. Yet instead of having something to fall back on, he said, graduates should “fall forward” – learn from their mistakes and keep going.

Thomas Edison had countless failed experiments before succeeding with the light bulb, he said.

“Do you have the guts to fail?” Washington said. “If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.”

One of his earliest failures was as a pre-med student at Fordham University in New York, he said. He changed to pre-law, then journalism, and was close to flunking out before switching to drama and getting his degree.

Washington described a second failure about 30 years ago at a miserable tryout for a Broadway musical. Then last year, on the same stage as that audition, Washington won a Tony award for his work in “Fences.”

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/16/denzel-washingtons-upenn-_n_862713.html

Denzel Washington (Photo: Jeff Katz)


“Denzel Washington has used his tremendous talent as an actor to bring the most significant social and historical issues into the limelight — from portraying a South African freedom fighter, a dedicated educator of young minds, and a homophobic lawyer rising to the defense of a gay man to portraying of one America’s most passionate civil rights activists,“ Penn President Amy Gutmann said. “He is also recognized for his inspiring work in public service, most particularly with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, an organization to which he belonged in his youth and now helps guide by serving as a board member, donor and longtime spokesperson.”

Washington has received the most distinguished accolades of his art, including two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, a Tony Award, an American Film Institute Award, several NAACP Image Awards, and the Stanley Kramer Award of the Producers Guild of America. He also holds honorary degrees from Fordham University, his alma mater, and Morehouse College. At Commencement, Washington will receive an honorary doctor of arts degree.

http://www.upenn.edu/pennnews/news/academy-award-tony-award-winning-actor-denzel-washington-speak-penn-s-255th-commencement

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Teaching Academic Writing

This book is highly practical while addressing the theory underpinning academic writing. It is organized into three parts. Part One: “Writing for Scholarly Publication”, takes a historical look at Academic Writing to inform contents for an Academic Writing course. Part Two, “Helping Preservice Teachers” gives an actual course plan used sucessfully by the author. Part Three, “The Passive Voice Controversy”, demythifies the active voice / passive voice controversy. This is a must have for teachers and students alike.

Amazon Author Page: Thomas Jerome Baker

Pinterest: Thomas Jerome Baker

Paperback books on Pinterest by Thomas Jerome Baker

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About profesorbaker

Thomas Baker is the Past-President of TESOL Chile (2010-2011). He is the Coordinator of the English Department at Colegio Internacional SEK in Santiago, Chile. He is the Co-Founder and Co-Organiser of EdCamp Santiago 2012 & Edcamp Chile 2013, free, participant-driven, democratic, conversation based professional development for teachers, by teachers. EdCamp Santiago 2012 was held at Universidad Mayor in Santiago. Edcamp Chile 2013 was held at Universidad UCINF. Thomas is also a member of the Advisory Board for the International Higher Education Teaching and Learning Association (HETL), where he also serves as a reviewer and as the HETL Ambassador for Chile. Thomas enjoys writing about a wide variety of topics. Thus far, he has written the following genres: romance, historical fiction, autobiographical, sports history/biography, and English Language Teaching. He has published a total of sixty one (61) books, all available on Amazon http://amzn.to/Qxmoec . The source and inspiration for his writing comes from his family, his wife Gabriela, and his son, Thomas Jerome Baker, Jr.
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