President Emeritus William D. Adams, now chair of the National Endowment for the Humanities, writes about giving the commencement address at Miami Dade College, one of the nation’s largest and most diverse community colleges, and a demonstration of patriotism at the ceremony that moved him. He goes on to say that the experience underscored his admiration for President Obama‚Äôs plan to subsidize community college tuition, not only because it will help prepare workers for jobs but also because these colleges can help produce “citizens as well as technicians.”

“How well we do as a democracy in the coming decades will have a great deal to do with the success of places like Miami Dade,” Adams writes. “Community colleges are forging citizens, many from disadvantaged backgrounds and communities in this country and beyond. These students must graduate with not only the passion for citizenship that I saw on display in Miami, but with the tools to be productive and dedicated participants in the public realm.”