The leader of the Central Intelligence Agency is urging college graduates at one central Pennsylvania College to note the example set by the U.S. military as they set out to begin their own careers.

General David Petraeus addressed about 550 graduates at Dickinson College, weaving in adages about hard work from Teddy Roosevelt, relentlessness from Ulysses S. Grant, and the optimism of public service from former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

 

To the grads, whose college careers began when the country’s economy plunged into recession, Petraeus offers his own perspective in hard times.

"Some five years ago I was the newly appointed commander in Iraq overseeing a surge of forces and implementing the most important surge, the surge of ideas on the conduct of counterinsurgency operations," said Petraeus. "It was an excruciatingly difficult period--well over 200 enemy attacks per day at the height of the violence."

This time last year, Petraeus was in Afghanistan, commanding all U.S. forces. It was a job he took shortly after agreeing to give the commencement speech to Dickinson’s graduating class last year.

Those duties compelled him to withdraw as speaker-–a move the school’s president highlighted this year as a lesson in leadership.