Likely inspired by the fact that he was delivering his address at an educational institution to an audience who would especially appreciate it, he shared one of his favorite passages from the constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I've put in bold some of word choices McCullough especially loved. I love them, too.
Chapter V, Section II
The Encouragement of Literature, etc.
Wisdom, and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people [as in everyone, he added], it shall be the duty of legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections, and generous sentiments among the people.I feel lucky to have received an excellent education at the following schools that were born of this extraordinary vision: Paul P. Gates Elementary, Acton-Boxborough Regional Jr. High School, and Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. Thanks for reminding me of that tonight, Mr. McCullough.