Melamed On Knowledge Tag

Chuck Zimmerman

Leo MelamedI’ve never met Leo Melamed but he sounds like an interesting guy. His website describes him as “. . . financial market innovator, writer, lecturer, and international authority on futures markets. Mr. Melamed is recognized as the founder of financial futures and currently serves as Chairman Emeritus and Senior Policy Advisor to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.” I just received a note that “Knowledge Tag,” is the commencement address at DePaul University delivered by Leo Melamed on June 12, 2005 at the Allstate Arena. Here’s how he starts out talking to these new graduates about their graduation.

It’s big! How big? Well, not to get overly metaphysical, it is a moment that more than anything symbolizes the difference between mankind and our counterparts in the animal kingdom. Other animals must learn everything anew from birth; humans have the capacity to record what they have learned and pass it on.

In other words, today’s commencement exercises, in a very real sense, symbolize the moment at which the cumulative knowledge of all preceding human generations has been passed on to you. That’s scary big.

When you think about it in this fashion, graduation is like a giant game of tag. Except now you are it. And you will remain it until you pass it on to the next generation.

I remember my high school and college graduation and that fleeting feeling of freedom until reality crept in.