Thursday, May 24, 2012

Churchill's Convocation Speech

On the 23rd of May 2012 Dr. Tom Traves, President and Vice-Chancellor of Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, gave this anecdote in his speech at the Spring convocation ceremony for the Faculty of Science and Graduate Studies:

"There is a story, probably only partly true but it's a good story anyway, that Winston Churchill once delivered a nine-word convocation speech. He started off by looking at the graduates with his famous stare and said, 'Never give up.' He then paused and once again he said, 'Never give up.' Then, after another short pause, he stared at them even more fiercely and in his sternest voice he declared, 'Never give up!' Then he sat down."

It's not well known that Churchill's succinct convocation speech was supposed to have been much longer. Unfortunately, he had misplaced his papers and, trying to recite the text from memory, could only recall the first three words. After repeating them thrice, he gave up.

That's what I claim, anyway.