Tim Cook references Spanish Flu, Lincoln in Ohio State commencement speech

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered a “virtual start address” for graduate students at Ohio State University, the video address offering life advice to viewers, and urging graduates to build a “future better than the one you thought was certain. ”

Ohio State University start address Tim Cook posted on Sunday shows that Apple CEO was sitting at home, wearing a shirt with the Ohio State logo and an apple, rather than the usual dress for graduation ceremonies. The Virtual Beginning is an alternative to the typical in-person speeches made by Cook, made necessary by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and announced a month ago.

In the 7 minute 55 second video, Cook begins his speech by referring to the Spanish flu and the fortunes of Franklin D. Roosevelt, T.S. Eliot and Amelia Earhart after recovering from their infections.

“Graduates, I’m sorry we aren’t celebrating together today. Your class is special – hello like no other in the 150 years of the OSU,” says Cook. “It can be difficult to see the whole picture when you are still inside the frame, but I hope you wear these unusual circumstances as a badge of honor.”

“Those who experience moments of historic challenge with their eyes and heart open – always restless and always striving – are also those who leave the greatest impact on the lives of others,” he continued, before suggesting people to have a choice “when our sparkling plans are blurred.” Either people can “curse the loss of something that was never going to be” or they can “see the reasons for being thankful for the rap on the skin of the neck, having our eyes lifted from what we wrote for ourselves and turned instead to a new world. ”

Cook refers to his arrival at Apple in 1998, expressing his chance to be able to “spend the rest of my professional life working for Steve Jobs”, a period interrupted by the death of Jobs. “The loneliness I felt when we lost Steve was proof that there is more eternal, or more powerful, than the impact we have on others.”

Abraham Lincoln is also referenced, a person Cook found time to stay at home, recommending books on the former president “to anyone who wants to put these times in perspective”.

As for the graduates, Cook tells them “your case is new. For you, the old dogmas have never been an option. You do not have the luxury of being captivated. You enter a world of difficulty with your eyes open, responsible for writing a choice which is not necessarily your choice but which belongs entirely to you. ”

Cook signs his signature by urging the 2020 promotion to “Think again. Act again. Build a better future than you thought was certain. And, in a scary moment, call us again to hope. ”

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