Wit and Wisdom

President Carter urges students toward resilience, honesty, and hope for the future

35 and Counting: President Jimmy Carter, University Distinguished Professor, and Ajay Nair, vice president and dean of campus life, share the stage at the Carter Town Hall.
Ann Borden

Former US President Jimmy Carter delighted and enlightened members of the Emory community during the annual Carter Town Hall on September 14, marking the 35th year that first-year Emory students have had the opportunity to ask a president any question they choose and receive a direct answer.

Not surprisingly, a number of questions relating to the current presidential race surfaced during the evening. In response to a question on the tone of the election cycle, Carter held out hope that things are bound to get better.

“We just have to remember that our country is resilient. We have always had down through history the ability, when we make serious mistakes like slavery, or the segregation years, or the failure to let women have the right to vote and so forth—we have always been able to correct our mistakes,” he said.

Carter went on to field questions on how the government should handle student loan debt, immigration, and mental health, as well as lighter queries, such as how much sleep he got as president.

“I always did the best I could,” he answered, “so I did not lose much sleep as president.”

Asked about the most useful piece of advice he’d ever been given, Carter promptly replied, “Tell the truth.”

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