PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The 42nd president of the United States visited Brown University Tuesday to discuss leadership and global politics with students.
Former President Bill Clinton joined his longtime friend Derek Shearer as part of an annual lecture series dedicated to his late son.
Casey Shearer died of an undetected heart virus in May 2000, just days before he was set to graduate from Brown University. The university launched the lecture series in memory of Casey, who was an aspiring writer and sportscaster.
Derek, who served as the United States ambassador to Finland during the Clinton administration, sat across from the former president while he answered a variety of submitted questions from students.
Clinton told the packed Pizzitola Sports Center that when it comes to his presidency and overall career in politics, he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
“I’ve had a wonderful life,” Clinton said. “I’ve had regrets with mistakes I’ve made in my life, but I would have those no matter what I decided to do.”
“It’s a wonderful life, but you have to have a very high pain threshold and be able to take criticism seriously instead of personally,” he added. “If you live, you will fail. If you act, you will make mistakes. Nobody is perfect.”
Clinton also recommended that those who aspire to be politicians go through with it, adding that if they don’t do it, others will.
“It doesn’t take long to live life,” Clinton said. “You turn around and poof — it’s over.”
“You want to live it with kindness, you want to live it with empathy for your fellow human beings, but you want to be able to get in the good fight when things that you feel are fundamental through our life on this planet are threatened,” he continued.
Maxie Cole was one of the many students in the crowd. She described Clinton’s lecture as “an incredible opportunity.”
“I actually am considering concentrating in political science, so that was a great message to hear and just kind of taken into account,” Cole said. “It can be daunting sometimes and a little disheartening with the state of the world and everything. But there is that little sliver of hope, and that’s nice to hear.”