Friday, July 9, 2010

Better late than never...

Pete Hamill to Finally Graduate From High School -

Mr. Hamill remembers the idea of a belated diploma as having begun with a Regis classmate, Thomas Hickey, a retired lawyer in Paramus, N.J. Mr. Hickey’s recollection is that after the list of 400 celebrated New Yorkers was announced in September by the Museum of the City of New York, Mr. Hamill told him, “I’d much rather have a
Regis High School diploma on my wall.” Arrangements were made. He will receive his certificate from the school’s president, the Rev. Philip G. Judge, S.J.

Mr. Hamill makes no pretense of being much of a Catholic. “Somebody once said there’s no ex-Catholic, there’s only retired Catholics,” he said. “Because of the music and the architecture and the structure of the Mass and all that, it stays with you. I’m a retired Catholic.”

The Jesuits stayed with him, as well. “They put doubt in you, intellectual doubt,” Mr. Hamill said. “Someone presents a thesis, you back up and say, ‘Is that really true? How do we know that’s true?’ ” The Jesuits, he said, also bequeathed “standards of excellence — you couldn’t just show up.”

“Even now, as old as I am, I have this secret Jesuit over my shoulder,” he said. “I think I’ve written a pretty good paragraph and he’s shaking his head: ‘C’mon, pal. Better try that again.’ This critical intelligence directed at yourself is very good. In that sense, those two years at Regis shaped a lot of what I did later, because I was never satisfied.”

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