The 2023 commencement ceremony at George Mason University was marred by the intolerant actions of some students who chose to walk out and protest Governor Glenn Youngkin’s keynote address.

Photos: ABC Channel 7

In line with the university’s tradition of hosting state officials to deliver the send-off speech, Governor Youngkin delivered an inspiring lecture that emphasized the graduates’ potential as “builders” of the future. 

“No matter your faith, no matter your nationality, no matter your race, your culture or creed, as you walk across the stage, you will have the opportunity to become a builder of Virginia, a builder of this nation, a builder of the world,” he told the class.

Unfortunately, a small handful of leftist students were dismissive of the governor’s message – some decided to walk out, while others held up signs and turned their backs on the podium.

Governor Youngkin’s address focussed on the individual stories of three graduates and the resilience of the entire class throughout the COVID pandemic. He went on to encourage the class to overcome challenges, embrace criticism, and strive to make positive impacts in the world.

Throughout the weeks leading up to the Thursday evening ceremony, students coated building windows in the colors of the transgender flag and organized a petition calling on the university’s president to rescind the invitation.

Higher education shouldn’t be an echo chamber. Students should be willing to engage – not shun – diverse viewpoints.