Bill Bullard Quotes

Who the Hell is Bill Bullard?

Bill Bullard was the former Dean of Faculty at San Francisco University High School.

Bullard is known for his 2007 commencement speech at San Francisco University High School which he couldn't give due to food poisoning.

In this commencement address he quoted author George Eliot by saying the highest form of knowledge is empathy and juxtaposing it with his own realisation that opinion is the lowest form of human knowledge. For some reason this quote has been incorrectly attributed to Greek philosopher Plato.


Best Quotes by Bill Bullard

“Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge… is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding.”

Bill Bullard
Based on a quote by George Eliot

“Schools teach students to seek the approval of their teachers. Indeed, for all of our differences, this is one area that parents and teachers share; we are wired or we are hired to believe in you, to approve you, to prevent or mitigate the experiences of disappointment…Try to correct this in two ways. First seek people, work for people who don’t have to like you, people who can easily disapprove of you, people that you can’t easily please. Their skepticism or indifference will define you. Second, if you don’t how to do so already, begin working for yourself, and let the teachers be damned. But they won’t be – they’ll just be all the more approving because that kind of integrity can only command respect. After all, most of the work we devise is devised for students who are not working for themselves, so those that do surpass our expectations and teach us things that we’ve never thought of.”

Bill Bullard
San Francisco University High School Commencement Address 2007

“Schools teach us to be clever, great problem solvers, but not to include ourselves in the problem that’s being solved. This is a great delusion. It makes us arrogant and complacent and teaches us to look at the world as a problem outside of us. As in Oedipus, public problems – the plague on Thebes or our own pestilences, war or global warming – are private problems. The plague is only lifted when each person sees his responsibility not in analyzing the problem, not in solving the riddle, but in changing our actions to address a public need. Oedipus destroyed the two things that had deceived him – his eyes and his power – and in so doing saved his city.”

Bill Bullard
San Francisco University High School Commencement Address 2007

“Schools, especially good ones…that so emphasize student voice, teach us to value opinion. This is a great deception. Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge; it requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge, according to George Eliot, is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another’s world. It requires profound, purpose‐larger‐than‐the‐self kind of understanding.”

Bill Bullard
San Francisco University High School Commencement Address 2007