This weekend I attended a very unusual college graduation ceremony. It isn’t often when the valedictorian is a man convicted of murder! But that is the case at Sing Sing penitentiary, where 24 students graduated last night from Mercy College’s four-year degree program, Hudson Link. My wife Jo Ann and I have been involved in this highly successful program for the past three years — she teaching English lit and I teaching economics. The most amazing results have come from this all-privately funded college program: Of the 50 graduates who have left prison life, NONE have returned. The recidivism rate nationwide is over 60%, but Hudson Link boasts a rate of an unbelievable 0%. Many celebrities have gotten involved because of the success. Warren Buffett showed up at last year’s graduation ceremony to find out more.
This year my wife and I arranged for Steve Forbes to give the commencement address. He told the graduates, “Wealth is not in material goods. Wealth is in the mind.” He explained, “Oil is just glop. You can’t drink it, eat it, or feed it to a camel. But a human mind figured out how to turn that glop into energy.” He offered another example. “Silicon is just sand. You find tons of it on every beach. But a human mind figured out how to turn that sand into a micro chip, and completely transformed our world.” He regaled the men with numerous stories, and encouraged them to use their minds to see things differently and make a difference in the world. For more on last night’s graduation ceremony, see my wife’s review in the Daily Caller: http://dailycaller.com/2011/06/02/sing-sings-scholars/
My son, Tim, has made a documentary on this success story called “Zero Percent.” It won the first Silver Spirit Award at the Dallas Film Festival, and will be showing at several more film festivals soon. To see the 3-minute trailer, go to https://www.facebook.com/ZeroPercentMovie