Elliot Richardson, Commencement Address, 1974


Elliot Richardson, Commencement Address, 1974


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Elliot Lee Richardson (July 20, 1920 – December 31, 1999) was an American lawyer and politician who was a member of the cabinet of Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. As U.S. Attorney General, he was a prominent figure in the Watergate Scandal, and resigned rather than obey President Nixon's order to fire special prosecutor Archibald Cox. In this address, Richardson warns the graduates of Eastern Michigan University against being “mastered by change,” and instead encourages them to “be in charge of change,” and to resist the prevailing sense of cynicism felt in the late 60’s and early 70’s. At the conclusion of the ceremony, several people are awarded honorary degrees by President Sponberg, including new Detroit Mayor, Coleman Young.

Speech Date



Watergate, Richard Nixon, Saturday Night Massacre, United States Attorney General, cynicism, William Butler Yeats, investigative journalism, Harold Sponberg, Coleman Young

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Permission to Use - Permission to quote from this speech should be requested from the University Archives ( lib_archives@emich.edu).​

Elliot Richardson, Commencement Address, 1974