Academic Ceremonies - December Commencement
Julie L. Roberts, Professor of Linguistics
University Marshal and President of the Faculty Senate
As many people have, I have been reading the biography of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. It turns out that the decision to use the slogan, “Think Different” caused some controversy around Apple. A controversy that I, as a linguist, and probably few others, found fascinating. The slogan, you may have noticed is not, prescriptively speaking, grammatical. Rather, some claimed, the slogan should be “Think Differently” with the adverb, ‘differently’ describing how one thinks. Jobs, on the other hand, argued that not only does Think Different come more nimbly off the tongue, but, grammatical of no, it also means something indefinably distinct from “Think Differently”. Something, and I’m interpreting here, that would not only result in a different point of view or contrasting opinions, but something that would result in profoundly different ideas and world views. Something that might change the world, or at least some part of it. Something that we at the University of Vermont aspire to encourage in our students and in one another. And something I think we can agree that pertains to Steve Jobs himself. So, in the spirit of this very celebratory day, which marks the commencement of this next stage of your life, I think you could do worse than to listen to the advice of the late Steve Jobs and “Think Different”. Thank you and congratulations.
Last modified January 16 2012 07:43 AM