Gov. Corbett urged Villanova Law School graduates Friday to embody the passion of Abraham Lincoln and the integrity of Sir Thomas More as they embark on their careers.
At the school's commencement, Corbett praised those men, both lawyers, for standing up for what they believed in though it ultimately cost them their lives.
Both "chose honor over convenience," Corbett told 233 graduates and their friends and family at Villanova's Pavilion.
Corbett, who was state attorney general and had a private practice for many years before becoming governor, gave a short speech exhorting the graduates to work hard, act ethically, think logically, and always look at the facts.
"Leaders who combine these qualites make great lawyers. They make great citizens. And they make great history," he said.
He reminded them that no one is certain where he or she will end up in five or 10 or 40 years.
"When I graduated law school more than three decades ago, the idea of being governor was as unlikely a thought as being on the basketball court at Villanova," he said. Corbett attended St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas.
He went on to become a prosecutor, then a civil litigator, before "politics found me. I've learned that success is found by working hard at the task at hand, learning to love the challenges you take on, and not being afraid to accept new challenges."
He didn't mention one of the biggest challenges surely on the minds of many Villanova law grads, as it is for most young adults: finding a job.
The Republican governor has come under fire in recent weeks after a survey showed Pennsylvania lagging most other states in job creation and the state's unemployment rate trailing the national average.
Corbett had an opportunity to announce a nugget of good news - that the state's jobless rate fell in April to 7.6 percent from 7.9 percent in March - but he didn't.
Instead, he noted that "in a world filled with cynicism, and where the right to doubt is given precedence over the wisdom to believe, we need leaders with the passion of Lincoln and the integrity of Thomas More."