NEW YORK (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen paid tribute Wednesday to the man she succeeded three months ago, saying Ben Bernanke demonstrated the grit that was needed to stabilize the financial system and restore economic growth.
Yellen told graduates at New York University's commencement that Bernanke's response to the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession showed the courage it takes to stand up for principles.
Bernanke faced "relentless criticism, personal threats and the certainty that history would judge him harshly if he was wrong," Yellen said at the ceremony at Yankee Stadium.
"You, too, will face moments in life when standing up for what you believe can make all the difference," Yellen said.
"There is an unfortunate myth," she told the graduates, "that success is mainly determined by something called 'ability.'"
In fact, she said, research shows that measures of ability are unreliable predictors of performance in academics or employment. Instead, she said, what's more important is a quality that psychologist Angela Lee Duckworth calls grit — "an abiding commitment to work hard toward long-range goals and to persevere through the setbacks that come along the way."
Her speech drew cheers from the crowd. "The entire theme around grit I thought was excellent," said John Tus, the vice president and treasurer of Honeywell and the father of a graduating senior. "I think that's what it takes to succeed, especially for the youth today, so many of them without jobs."