A Salute to the Extraordinary College Class of 2020
Greetings. I'm. Stephen flu hardy Dean, of the School of Arts and Sciences, thank. You for joining us as we salute and celebrate you. The. Wonderful, the talented College. Of Arts and Sciences, class of, 2020. I also. Welcome all of the parents, family, members and loved ones who are watching with, you I hope, that all of you are healthy and safe I know. I speak for the entire arts, and science faculty, in saying. How much we have missed being together with you on campus in, Philadelphia, this spring and how, much we look forward to celebrating your graduation with. You in person next. Year at Franklin Field our. Greetings, now are intended. To mark this important, moment, but, they are merely the first of our, celebrations. Of you indeed. In the years to come I hope, that the class of 2020, will be remembered, not only for its experiences, this spring but. As the class that was so special that Penn, honored it twice. Your. Time away from campus in recent weeks coming. As it does at the end of your Penn career, certainly. Adds an unusual, dimension, to, your overall, college, experience, one. That you will never forget and one. From which you have learned a great deal. But. This period, alone which amounts, to only 1/16. Of your arts and science education does. Not define. Your Penn career, indeed. I would argue the opposite, but, the qualities, that sustained you through these abrupt shifts, in your education, are a tribute to all that you have learned during, the rest of your time at Penn as the. World has changed in, unprecedented ways, you. Were prepared, to understand. The. Enormous, Lea complex, scientific. Social. Economic. And moral, issues facing. The global community. And far. Beyond, the content, of what you have learned in your courses you, have been sustained, but I oh but, what I will call the habits of mind that you, acquired, through, your Penn liberal arts education. This. Spring you have shown incredible, intellectual, agility, in. Adapting. New ways of study strength. Of character and showing support for, your friends, family, in our larger society and you, have demonstrated how much you value learning. Itself and the, remarkable, lengths, you will go to in, order to do it these. Are, the qualities, that will serve you well throughout. Your life in, whatever paths, you follow after, Penn I am. Also finding that this period of time away from Penn, as, much as I would have preferred not to have it is, making, me appreciate, things I might, otherwise taken, for granted I hope. That this is the case for you as, you reflect on your Penn experience, during, this unusual, period at home I hope. That the absence, of your friends, makes. You cherish those relationships. All the more and see. How they will endure beyond, college but. The presence of your parents and, family is, a powerful, reminder of, the love and support they. Have given you throughout, your education. All. Of us thank them for that that. Our disposal. To homes around, the globe right now underscores. The, incredible, diversity that, your classmates, brought to Penn and, what. That has allowed you to learn from each other and finally. I hope that your physical, distance, from your professors, and their. Hard work and keeping your classes, going online has. Reinforced. For you the enormous, value of their instruction, and how. Deeply they care about you and your. Learning, there. Is nothing, no. Virus and no, amount of distance from Franklin, field that.
Can Take this moment of joy away, from you wherever. You, are in the world right now you. Are crossing the threshold from. Penn students, to, penile um nigh we. Will celebrate in person together in due course wearing. Caps and gowns but. Please don't shy, away from phase, ones of your, happy dances, now you. Should be incredibly, proud of all that you have achieved and. On behalf of the entire, arts and sciences, family, I offer, our most, heartfelt, congratulations to. You on completing. Your Penn, degrees, it. Is now my pleasure to introduce Paul's, Nagurski, Dean. Of the college Paul. Is a distinguished. Scholar of biology, an award-winning. Teacher and, the, superb, leader of our, undergraduate, programs in the, liberal arts members. Of the extraordinary, College, of Arts and Sciences class of 2020, let. Me add my congratulations to, those of Dean flu hardy and all, of the staff faculty, and administrators of, our school let. Me also acknowledge the, obvious right. Away I would. Much rather be, offering my congratulations, at the podium in the heady atmosphere of, Franklin, Field on the evening of May 17th, with, all of you and your families, and loved ones there, in person as in, a normal year and I, know that all of you would, have liked that better to. Whenever. We, do get the chance to bring you back on campus for in person, pomp, and circumstance next. Year promise, me you will all come back so Dean fluke Hardy and I can see you and congratulate. You in person. In. The meantime I, hope that my remarks and those of others in this recorded, salute succeed. In conveying our deep appreciation and, our pride in all of you as you complete your undergraduate. Educational, journey, here, at Penn and, it's. Very easy to be proud of your class as you've. Made your way through the college's, rigorous, curriculum you, have also engaged with, the Penn community. Philadelphia. And the world in so many ways in, there. Many co-curricular. Activities, members, of your class have participated, in academically, based service, courses in Philadelphia, have, conducted research in labs, field sites archives, and libraries, here at Penn and around, the world have. Served your classmates, the College and the University as leaders, in the u-ace queue, and the, Dean's Advisory, Board. Have. Kept us informed by. Investigating. And writing for the DEP and other outlets, have. Rehearsed and given performances. In music dance and theatre groups have. Competed, athletically, at regional, national and, international levels. And have, engaged passionately. With the social political and, environmental, concerns. Of our time. Think. Now, of your friends, and classmates and, yourself and take, a moment to realize the depth and breadth of all you, have achieved here in and, beyond, the classrooms, and, while. You're at it make. A note to thank your parents guardians. And pre-college. Mentors who, did so much to make this possible for you as. Graduates. Of the college you are now the holders, of an academic credential. That is distinctly, American, in its history and its promise for the future a degree. In the liberal arts and sciences. As you. Know better, than anyone what is characteristic. Of a liberal arts education is, its, great breadth of modes of inquiry and ways, of approaching fundamental. Subjects, and, indeed. I acknowledge, that this breadth was perhaps even a challenge at times as, you made your way through the elements, of the college's, general, requirement. But. Reflect now with great, pride, that as holders, of a degree from the college you. Can calculate, analyze. Write. Speak. Interact. Across cultures, both within and outside the u.s. can, take account of history when. Considering, the present in the future can.
Participate And, appreciate. In the arts in their diverse forms, and manifestations, can. Recognize, the value of real science, in your everyday lives and yes can. Recognize, BS, nonsense. And pseudoscience, when you see it. The. Meaning of the liberal arts is there in what you have achieved these are, the, ideal capacities. Of a free person, in a, global society and they, are now yours. And. Yours. Is a historic. Class it, has. Been many decades really, not. Since the 1960s. And early 70s since. A college class graduated. Under circumstances as. Extraordinary, as those we face now with, the Cova dean pandemic, you will, leave the college into a world that is very different from, what we might have imagined, just a few months ago but. I speak for all of us here at Penn when I say that, we know we, will see you make sense of our times. Members, of your class, will produce the great works of art that help, us understand, this time will, become the scientists, and social scientists, who, work to prevent another pandemic from happening, and will, do the work of ensuring that the inequities, this pandemic, has exposed, in our world diminish. In the future for. This is what you have made yourselves, capable, of in all, your academic work and engagement, here. College. Class of 2020, this is not the end of our celebration, of you it is, the beginning all. Of us look forward to celebrating in person with you next year but, beyond this we. Look forward to staying in touch personally. And celebrating. Your successes, into future years and decades. From. All of us in the College faculty. Administrators. And staff, you. Have our deepest love and pride, as graduates. Of our, institution. Congratulations. To all of you the, extraordinary. Class of 2020. Our. Next, speaker representing, the class of 2020, is Lucy, who, Lucy. Is from Auckland New Zealand she's. A political science, major with a minor in survey, research and data analytics.
This. Spring her honours thesis jointly, received the leo s row memorial. Prize for. The best thesis, submitted, on a topic, related, to comparative, politics, and/or, international. Relations, she, was also inducted into, Phi Beta Kappa, Lucy. Served as a student fellow with the program, on opinion research and election, studies where, she conducted data analysis, on midterm, elections, and the, civic engagement of, immigrants, in Philadelphia, and Atlanta. She. Also interned, at the Penn Biden Center in Washington DC. During. Her junior year lucy. Studied at the university of cambridge writing, a dissertation on, race immigration and, brexit. Which was published, in the Dartmouth undergraduate. Journal of politics, economics. And world, affairs, she. Presented this research at the Ivy League undergraduate. Research symposium in, 2019. Lucy. Campus activities, included, serving, on the board of the Assembly of international. Students, co-founding. Australians, and New Zealanders at. Penn and writing. An opinion column for the daily Pennsylvanian and, winning its columnist, of the Year in 2017. After. Graduation, Lucy, is moving to Washington, DC to join a political polling, and public, opinion firm. August. 25th. 2016. Our. First. Day of New Student Orientation. Remember. Pushing a move-in cot that blistering summers day or getting, your first pin card at Houston hall or, taking a picture of a squirrel on Locust look that. Moment, was, 44. Months ago. 1361. Days. Thirty-two, thousand, six, hundred and sixty-four hours. Now. It's, May 17th, 2020. It's. Not quite the 20/20 we pictured when we sat on College Green during convocation it's. Not really the senior spring we dreamed of on pay day last year and it's, definitely not the graduation. We imagined, even a few months ago today. We, should be together on, Franklin, fields wearing our gowns and taking, pictures with each other instead. We, are scattered, across the globe wearing. Our pajamas and taking, screenshots of each other, but. While, time zones separate, us our, memories of the last four years unite us we. Owe it to ourselves to, treasure those moments unabridged. And uninterrupted. Thinking. Back to fall, 2016, I can, picture my first class in political, science intro. To American politics. But. For the first lecture I had no idea what the Constitution. Really said in fact. And I, can admit this now I didn't, even know what Congress, was, this. Was all jargon to an international, student who had never lived anywhere but, New Zealand but. By, the end of the semester I knew that gerrymandering, was not a lizard. And I, was hungry to find out more weird names and even weirder political, practices, I fell. In love with politics, I conducted. Research at Peary world house and in, no time I found my home within the pin program on opinion research and a late studies where, I was a fox leadership, fellow as. If pin could offer anymore right, I spent. My sophomore summer in Washington DC. I'm. A very last day of my internship on a sweltering, afternoon at, the end of July I stood. In the beautiful Lobby when my blazer in heels staring. At the words pin Biden Center and our school crest on the wall, as. My eyes glided. Around the room seeing. The Capitol building through the windows on my right I pictured. Sitting in my freshman full lectures and b2, of mice and whole learning. About the role of the Vice President less. Than two years later I had now met one worked, with his foreign policy staff taken, notes at Senate hearings and felt, like an insider in Washington, DC's policy, circles, its. Pin, I thought, it's because of pin and, as. I stepped out onto Constitution, Avenue that, July day I thought, to myself I, sure. Know what Congress, is now. Of. Course I've. Had my fair share of academic. Mishaps, internship. Rejections, and personal, failures failures. That trap us into doubting our abilities, but. There's, a Chinese idiom my mother said to me before I start a college that has guided me through my time here, surgeons. Don't know if I won if. It's gold it will shine no matter what, four.
Years Ago Dean further saw the gold in you even. When someone can't see it remember, that it is there and if it is there it will eventually shine. Through. Equally. If not more important. Than this academic and professional growth, let's remember the personal memories that have defined College hanging. Out with our roommates drinking hot chocolate on a snowy night 1:00. A.m. study breaks and Hardwell rooftop, lounge delving, into scholarly. Debates about whether water is which. It. Is. These. Are the comforts we crave now, more, than ever but. Through the isolation, I've seen, the true gold of my friends shine through we. Shine when we bake together on Zoom to keep each other company we, shine when we make crazy videos, to make each other laugh and we, shine when we volunteer our time ideas, to help food banks small businesses, and vulnerable, communities, through this global crisis. Ultimately. It is these choices that make us Penn students the. Opportunities, that we've had come with an immense responsibility. Especially, now. We. Have asked a lot of the last four years and they've, delivered, but. Now we must, consider, what the Times asked of, us, Penn. Has given us privilege pin has given us a pedestal we. Do not have the option to stand, there complacently, no we, must fight alongside those who do not have the privileges, Weejun through, policies, science, technology, and literature. May. 17th. 2020. Our time. Is now. Let's. Not show the world what we can do with a pen education, let's. Show the world what we should do with a pen education, I. Am. Delighted to introduce one. Of our distinguished. Arts and sciences faculty as, a featured, guest speaker. Emily. Wilson is the college for women class, of 1963. Term. Professor, in the humanities and, a, professor in our world renowned department. Of classical, studies she. Heads our graduate, program, in comparative, literature and, literary. Theory. Emily. Has received, wide, acclaim from. Both scholars, and the, press for, her skillful. 2017. Translation. Of Homer's. Odyssey in. Particular. She, has been praised for the way that her new translation. Helps, modern, audiences. Connect, to, this seminal. Ancient. Text to. Our world today. Among. The accolades, Emily has received in the wake of its publication. Have. Been a 2019. MacArthur, Fellowship, known, informally, as the genius, grant and, just. A few weeks ago a prestigious. Guggenheim. Fellowship. I am. Grateful, to Emily, for speaking, today I'm. Truly. Honored to be virtually, present with all of you but, a graduation, ceremony unlike, any other. Long history thank. You for joining me wherever you are in the world I. Want. First to acknowledge that things are very hard right now in many different ways this. Is a time of terrible loss. Some. Of you have lost family members, some. Of you are far away from the people you love, your. Families, are suffering from terrifying, economic, losses and the, loss of normal ways of life, job. Prospects, look very different, now compared, to a few months ago all. Of you experienced. Huge unexpected. Challenges, during. This past semester. You. Never anticipated, this kind of graduation when, he began at Penn four years ago. All. Of you have worked extraordinarily, hard, for this meant and all, of you deserved to celebrate, your accomplishments, with a joy and sense of excitement there. Can be hard to achieve in, this time of physical distancing, and knockdowns. Change. Can sometimes seem so total, so, overwhelming, that we are paralyzed, by it sometimes. We stopped feeling like ourselves. It's. Hard to keep moving to keep on the journey or Odyssey, of our lives, I, want. To talk today about difficult. Journeys and about. How to reach how, to meet the obstacles, we encounter, on the way. My. Main claim to fame is that I created a new translation, of theodicy capital, o an ancient. Greek poem from around 3,000, years ago. One. Of its most famous moments.
Is When Odysseus and his men they're, trying to get through the narrow strait, between. Two terrifying. Goddesses, one. On either side. Charybdis. The, cacophonous, whirlpool, who sucks whole ships down to the bottom of the sea and Scylla. Who's, six doglike, mouths seize and crunch up human beings hope. Odysseus. A war. Veteran, responds. In an entirely the wrong way to this unprecedented, challenge. He. Ignores the excellent, expert advice he's, been given by another goddess Circe. To, keep moving as fast as possible, to get himself and his men out of the way. Instead. He straps on his glorious battle, armor stands. Up looking all macho and impressive, and confronts. The whirlpool as. If this were the same kind of challenge as those, he's faced during the Trojan War encountering. Mortal, opponents, on the battlefield. It. Doesn't go so well while. The leader is showing off looking, in the wrong direction, Silla. Swoops, down with, all her six canine, heads and, swallows, up six men, they. Never get home it's. A loss that can never be undone. When. You're facing totally, unprecedented, kinds. Of challenge, you, can't keep on using the same tool set nothing. Changes, if nothing changes. Pandemics. And other major natural disasters, often. Herald fast almost unimaginable. Social, and political changes. They. Require humans, to have the ability to have changed the paradigm to. Be willing to rethink everything, to. Survive we. May need to change in ways we never imagined. Sophocles. Oedipus wants, to use the same skillset that has worked for him in the past to. Fix the terrible plague afflicting, his city he. Thinks he can do it by beings quick, and good at puzzles and smart he. Doesn't realize is a new kind of problem the problem is himself the. Most, important, thing I hope you've all learned during, your time at Penn is. There's always another way to look at every challenge. Your. Are we all amazingly, smart and hard-working. But. You also know that being, smart and hard-working isn't, enough, even. If you're the smartest kid in the class even. If you've done all the homework even, if you have fantastic ideas and insights, you're. Always going to discover something new when, you listen to other people and explore the vast unpredictable. Ever-changing, world from. New angles and, with new sets of eyes I. Hope. That has college graduates, from an elite institution, you. Take with you and awareness of your own responsibility. The. Odyssey tells how, one privileged, person, Odysseus. Successfully. Gets back home, but. It's also about how many other people never make it whether. They're eaten, drowned or killed in war or. They're in a socially subordinate, position so, they never get a home that of their own that belongs to them they're. Always somebody's, wife or, enslaved by somebody else I. Hope. Your time at Penn has taught you to listen and pay close attention to.
Other People's, perspectives, including, marginalized. Voices even. When they're challenging, or scary and. To be aware of how much is missing if, we assume we already know everything and, look. Only to our own side of the story, be. Willing to start over to, realize all over again like, Socrates you. Know nothing. Don't. Look only for the easiest or most convenient, narrative, challenge. Yourself and always be willing to change your mind. In. A world where there's so much partisanship, so. Much mistrust, of expertise. You, are smart well-educated college. Graduates, need, to fight as hard as you can to discover, acknowledge, and tell the, hard truths The Forgotten stories. And. As you travel through life don't. Think only of your own homecoming, your, own personal, journey, think. About how you can create a better world for people around you don't. Let your companions, on this planet get eaten by the six headed goddesses at birth, take. Care of each other in the world you're building together. We. Will never get back to Ithaca, if, Ithaca means a place in the past but. We can strive to make a better kind of community, in the world of the future, as. The Quaker saying goes I shall, pass this way but once any. Good that I can do or, any kindness, I can show to any human being let. Me do it now for. I shall not pass this way again. In. Your journey through life I hope you will all take on big projects, aim, high change. Things for the better in your chosen field and make the world a better place. If. It's, hard to look far ahead in this moment then. In the immortal words of Anna from frozen - and, moving my kids and I have watched many times during a lockdown take. A step step. Again just. Do the next right thing. I've. Learned from my own work translating, big. Pick poems is. Every massive undertaking can be broken down into small steps you do everyday the. Steps add up I want. You all to begin to take small steps every, day to, begin your own transformative. Epic, journeys I, want. You step forward with. A courage, integrity, and, joy with. Awareness of how much magical, new energy your voices can bring in, whatever you choose to do. There. Are so many different, ways to be a hero or to be a goddess you are, amazing, to have got through the last four years and, especially the last few months and, made it to this point it's. Time to bring your talent, and energy into, a new world that needs you more than ever to, take on challenges, unlike anything people have experienced, before. I'm. Going, to end by quoting from the contemporary poet Maggie Smith from her forthcoming collection. Quote. Remember. That the ending of one thing is the beginning of another no, so, there is room enough in this life with. Its many endings its, many beginnings, for. Things you could not have imagined, last week or, last year, or, ten years ago, remember. That you are playing the long game take. Your time making the life you want if, your time but do not stop keep. Moving. Well. Done Penn graduates, congratulations. And good luck on the journey ahead thank. You our. Deepest. Thanks to Professor, Emily Wilson and to graduating, senior lucy who for, their inspiring contributions. To this College salute to the class of 2020, as we. Close this ceremony, please. Note that the college graduation, web page contains, links to a graduation, photograph. Gallery, of the class of 2020, a roll. Of majors in the college and the students graduating, in each major and video.
Tributes, From notable, college alumni. From. The college and the School of Arts and Sciences to all of you, graduates. Families. Guardians. And friends our, warmest. Congratulations to. The College class of 2020, we. Will miss you but. We hope more than ever to see you again sometime. Next year when, we all celebrate. For. Now. Oh. Let's. Meet. The fellows while. You may. Watch. Tomorrow, a green, star rose, tonight. That's. All he, gave. A. Highball. Let. Me, try. To. Tear. Not. Till. Evermore. We're. To. See our, revenues. For. And spa and. Ah. Let's. Meet. The fellows while. You may. Watch. Tomorrow, may, greet sorrows. Tonight. That's, all. Hi, ball, and. Me, Tommy. Not. Evermore. We're. To. See our, animals. For. And spa and. You. Ha. Ha. Ha. -. Dear. Oh. You.