Remembering Cranston Forte

It is hard to believe, but it has been a year since Cranston Frote passed away. Below are comments excerpted from my 2018 commencement speech reflecting on what I learned from Cranston. Please take a moment to remember him.

Several weeks ago, our PVCC colleague, Cranston Forte, adviser to our MEN’s program, unexpectedly passed away. It is at these times we tend to take pause and reflect on what life lessons are harvested from grief. Cranston’s life demonstrated three important lessons that I know you will finding meaningful.

I learned from him that of the many reasons why we are here on this earth – two of the most important are: 1) find a cause you believe in and do everything you can in a tireless, relentless manner to make it better, build it up, give it energy and life; —- and 2) conversely do not hide from an issue of concern that you believe is wrong, broken, unjust or unfair and do everything you can to challenge it, to fix it, to make it better.

While these two divergent pursuits, alone are not novel or transformative. The third, I believe is. The larger lesson gleaned from Cranston’s life is that one should pursue both courses of action – that of building up and that of challenging to fix the broken – in the same exact fair-minded approach, to the extent that anyone observing from afar, would not know the difference in personal tone, careful reason of thought, levels of empathy and concern for others – finally with the same personal humility and courage.

So graduates with this “fair-minded” approach, challenge yourself to be more fully engaged to change your state of mind between the unknown and known; between hatred and empathy; between confusion and curiosity; between disarray and synthesis; between self and citizen; between apathy and action; and finally to change your state of mind to act and lead with personal congruence whether you are building something up or bringing the end to an unjust cause.