David Einhorn and his wife, Cheryl, are the principals of the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust which underwrote the Summit. David, a hedge-fund manager, offered the following remarks at the March 24, 2008 Summit reception. David is a member of Hillel's International Board of Governors. The Einhorn Family Charitable Trust fosters tolerance, understanding and a more civil society.
David and Cheryl Einhorn.
The reason we have been able to consider sponsoring a summit like this is because I have had the fortune to be a successful investor. I have some insight into what is a good investment and what is a bad one. So then, I can tell you why I think this conference is a good one.
I am an optimist. This is an optimistic mission: Imagining a more civil society. Unlike some issues that are too big or too hard, where progress is glacial and there may be no hope….this is easier. You can see that we are making progress. To imagine a more civil society doesn’t mean that society isn’t already becoming more civil. Where we were 40 or 50 years ago is light years less enlightened than where we are now… this cause has momentum.
We want to thank you for spending these three days with us to work together to ensure that our college campuses are safe, vibrant and inspiring communities. Cheryl and I share a commitment to creating a more civil society – where tolerance, service, social justice, collaboration and civility are the values that dictate how we participate in the communities in which we live. This Summit is a great opportunity to work together to push this environment forward on our campuses.
In truth, we already live in a time when campuses are largely havens for intellectual pursuit and personal growth. However, much more can be done. We can strengthen civil discourse on our campuses. We can provide positive outlets for questioning and challenging the status quo. We can identify opportunities to promote service and civic engagement for our young people. We can work together to find ways to help our campuses advance their efforts in these areas.
But this is a journey. It is two steps forward and one back. There are and will be incidents and setbacks along the way. Some will be national stories – like campus shootings, and some will be localized events of intolerance. But these setbacks can’t get in the way and we can’t allow them to get in the way of progress. We are on the right path, but further progress is not inevitable. It has to be fought for and nurtured.
At the same time, we need to enjoy the journey and the struggle. We should mark the progress and figure out how to make it go faster. This won’t be done before Professor Putnam’s granddaughter collects social security, because we will never be done… but with some dedication it will be a lot better by then.
We hope this Summit inspires you to help shape our future to be a more tolerant, understanding and civil society. We thank you—especially those of you who work with our young people on campuses across the country—for the important work you do everyday to advance this mission. We look forward to hearing your perspectives on how best we can work together to take this shared vision to the next level.
It is great to invest in a winner. Civility is important, is likely to advance, and the progress is ongoing and tangible. It has all the making of a winning investment. Thank you for working to make it so.