Former New York Gov. David Paterson was in the Adirondacks over the weekend, where he addressed graduates of Paul Smith's College.
Speaking along the shores of Lower St. Regis Lake, Paterson told graduates to take chances and stick to their convictions.
"Throughout the centuries there have been men and women who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but they're own vision," he said. "The great leaders, the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors - stood alone against the societies of their time. Every new thought was opposed, every new invention was denounced. But these people who had an unbarred vision went ahead - they fought, the suffered, and the paid, but they won."
Paterson, who rose to New York's highest office after the resignation of Eliot Spitzer, broke into politics in 1985 when he was elected as a state Senator representing Harlem. At 31, he was the youngest lawmaker in Albany at the time and eventually took the helm as Senate Minority Leader.
Sunday's speech had all the makings of a classic commencement address - Paterson aimed to inspire, amuse, and educate.
But he was also careful to temper the enthusiasm with advice for a group of young adults preparing to enter a tough economy.
"This is a very difficult time and you will endure a lot of hardships that your predecessors and that's why it is so important that your family, your friends, those who taught you, those who came to observe today, that we all let it be known that we are behind you," Paterson said. "Because we're looking to you to reverse some of the poor judgment that put us in this position now."
245 students received their degree during Sunday's ceremony, the 64th commencement for Paul Smith's College.