Yale College Class Day Exercises


… THIS IS A TEST. TEST. ♪ ♪ [ APPLAUSE ] ♪ [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] [ APPLAUSE ] REBECCA YAN: THE TIME HAS COME JULIA TOBIN: WE’VE WORKED SO HARD FOR THIS AND PUT IN SO MAN HOURS TO GET TO THIS MOMENT. YANNIS MESSAOUI: IT’S FINALLY HERE: THE GAME OF THRONES FINAL. [ APPLAUSE ] 9:00 P.M., HBO, SEE YOU THERE. ALL: SENIORS, CONGRATULATIONS AND WELCOME TO CLASS DAY!!!! [ APPLAUSE ] JULIA TOBIN: WE ARE YOUR SENIO CLASS OFFICERS. I’M JULIA. YANNIS MESSAOUI: I’M YANNIS. REBECCA YAN: AND I’M REBECCA. WE’VE HAD A GREAT YEAR PLANNING EVENTS AS CHAIRS OF THE SENIOR CLASS COUNCIL. [ APPLAUSE ] THANKS TO OUR DEDICATED TEAM, E ARE ABLE TO HAVE EVENTS THAT BROUGHT OUR CLASS TOGETHER DURING OUR FINAL YEAR AT YALE. YANNIS: OUR CLASSMATES SHOWED UP TO OUR EVENTS READY GO, BUT LET’S NOT FORGET SOME THINGS THAT WHAT WENT DOWN BEHIND THE SCENES.>>LIKE REMEMBER WHEN OUR TREASURER BOUGHT TEN EXTRA KEGS FOR OUR EVENT FOR PEACE OF MIND. EVEN DEAN CHUN ASKED, WHAT ARE YOU GOIG TO DO WITH ALL THIS LEFTOVER BEER?>>DON’T WORRY, DEAN CHUN, WE FIGURED OUT A SOLUTION.>>DURING OUR TIME HERE AT YALE, WE SAW MANY DIFFERENT THINGS.>>LET’S UNPACK THAT. YANNIS: ON OUR VERY FIRST DAY, WE SHOWED UP AS BRIGHT EYED FIRST-YEARS, FRESH OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL, LANYARDS AND NOTEBOOKS IN HAND. FAST FORWARD TO SENIOR YEAR, AND OUR FIRST DAY LOOK IS NO BACKPACK, NO SLEEP, AND CHECKING THE LOCATION OF OUR CLASSES WHILE WE WERE WALKING TO THEM. REBECCA: WE WENT FROM HAVING CAMP YALE FRIENDS TO REAL FRIENDS. AND WHILE WE LOST SASHA PUP, WE GAINED A NEW HANDSOME DAN. JULIA: OUR CLASS FINALLY BROKE THE HARVARD YALE LOSING STREAK WE STORMED THE YALE BOWL AND HARVARD STADIUM. AND TOOK SELFIES WITH PRESIDENT SALOVEY WHO SEEMED TO LOVE BEATING HARVARD EVEN MORE THAN WE DID. THOUGHT THE 12 COLLEGE CHALLEN WAS HARD, WELL GUESS WHAT, THE 14 COLLEGE CHALLENGE IS EVEN HARDER. JULIA: AS WE REFLECT ON OUR TI AT YALE, WE REALIZE THAT THERE ARE SOME THINGS WE JUST PROBABLY WON’T MISS. LIKE HEARING, “RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES ARE A MICROCOSM OF THE YALE COMMUNITY.” REBECCA: OR REALIZING YOU’RE HAVING A VERY BAD NIGHT WHEN YOU’RE FORCED TO MOVE IN STERLING TO BASS LIBRARY AT 11:45:00 P.M. YANNIS: AND THEN YOU’VE GOT TO GO BACK TO YOUR TWIN XL BED, WHICH IS NEVER FUN, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE 6’3″. REBECCA: I KNOW I WON’T MISS STRUGGLING TO OPEN EVERY GATE AT YALE. WHY ARE THEY SO HEAVY? JULIA: AND THEN THERE’S ALWAYS MIDTERM SEASON, WHICH ESSENTIALLY MEANS THE ENTIRE SEMESTER.>>WHILE WE WON’T MISS THE MASSIVE GATES, SO MUCH WE WILL MISS.>>LIVING A BLOCK AWAY FROM YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS, AND THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE IT FUN AND WHY WE LOVE YALE.>>NO MORE DO I FEEL MORE CONNECTED TO THE CLASS THAN WEDNESDAYS AT 1:00 A.M. WHEN WE ALL CHANT LIVING ON A PRAYER TOGETHER. WE WON’T FORGET THE DAYS WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS FINALLY ABOV FREEZING, AND YALE ACTUALLY LOOKS LIKE THE BROCHURE. WE CRAWL OUT OF HIBERNATION, ALL SIT ON CROSS CAMPUS, AND PRETEN TO DO WORK. JULIA: I WILL MISS OUR YALE LA WHEN WE GO TO THE BUTTERY TO GRAB A $1 QUESADILLA. OR SIT IN G-HEAV EATING WITH OUR FRIENDS.>>OR WITH FINDING THE PEOPLE THAT BECOME OUR CLOSEST FRIENDS. THAT’S THE PEOPLE WITH ME ON STAGE.>>WE KNOW THAT YALE IS MAKING US BE THE PEOPLE WE WANT TO BE. IN AN OPEN ENVIRONMENT, WE ARE SHARING OUR EXPERIENCES.>>ALTHOUGH YALE WAS CHALLENGING, WE HAD FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND FACULTY WHO HELPED US MAKE IT THROUGH. WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE TIME NOW TO THANK YOU ALL. [ APPLAUSE ] YANNIS: TODAY, WE CELEBRATE WH WE HAVE ACHIEVED. TOMORROW, WE LOOK FORWARD TO NEW POSSIBILITI. CONGRATULATIONS TO US ALL. WE SHOULD BE SO PROUD OF OURSELVES FOR MAKING IT TO THIS DAY. [ APPLAUSE ]>>HERE’S TO THE CLASS OF 2019! [ APPLAUSE ]>>HELLO CLASS OF 2019. SHUYU SONG: I’M SHUYU. HAROLD EKEH: AND I’M HAROLD. SHUYU: WE ARE MEMBERS OF THIS YEAR’S CLASS DAY PLANNING COMMITTEE. YOU WILL MEET ALL THE REST OF THE MEMBERS THROUGHOUT THIS AFTERNOON’S CEREMONY. BUT RIGHT NOW, WE HAVE THE HON OF INTRODUCING OUR CLASS DAY SPEAK SPEAKER. [ APPLAUSE ] HAROLD: YEAH, IT’S INCREDIBLE. SO, WE HAVE WITH US TODAY AN ACCLAIMED WRITER, AN INSPIRING GLOBAL CITIZEN WHOSE WORDS, TEACHING, AND SOCIAL ACTIVISM HAVE HAD AN INDELIBLE IMPACT ON THE DIASPORA AND BROADER CONTEMPORARY CULTURE. SHE IS KNOWN FOR HER AWARD-WINNING NOVELS, NON-FICTION, HER RIVETING TED TALKS, AND MUCH MORE. SHE WAS BORN IN NIGERIA, WHERE HER FATHER WAS A PROFESS AND HER MOTHER WAS THE FIRST FEMALE REGISTRAR. SHE STUDIED MEDICINE FOR A YEAR AT NSUKKA AND THEN LEFT FOR THE UNITED STATES AT THE AGE OF 19 TO CONTINUE HER EDUCATION ON A DIFFERENT PATH. SHUYU: SHE GRADUATED SUMMA CUM LAUDE FROM EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY WITH A DEGREE IN COMMUNICATION AND POLITICAL SCIENCE. SHE ALSO HAS A MASTER’S DEGREE IN CREATIVE WRITING FROM JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY AND A MASTER OF ARTS IN AFRICAN HISTORY FROM. [ APPLAUSE ] HER WORK HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO OVER 30 LANGUAGES. AND HER NOVELS HAVE WON PRESTIGIOUS PRIZES IN LITERATUR. HER 2013 NOVEL “AMERICANAH” WO THE US NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD, AND WAS NAMED ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BEST BOOKS OF 2013. IN 2008, SHE RECEIVED A MACARTHUR “GENIUS GRANT” FELLOWSHIP, AND IN 2015 SHE WAS NAMED ONE OF TIME MAGAZINE’S 10 MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. HAROLD: YEAH, INCREDIBLE. [ APPLAUSE ] SO, IN HER LITERARY AND ORATORY WORK, SHE WARNS AGAINS THE “DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY”-THE IDEA THAT PEOPLE LIVING IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE WORLD ALL HAVE ONE KIND OF EXPERIENCE-AND SHE REMINDS US T ALWAYS SEEK THE TRUTH. AS A NIGERIAN-AMERICAN MYSELF, CAN SAY WITHOUT A DOUBT THAT HE WORK HAS INSPIRED CROSS-GENERATIONAL COMMUNICATIO ABOUT THE HISTORY AND TRAGEDIES THAT HAVE SHAPED THE LIVED EXPERIENCES OF MILLIONS. THROUGH HER WRITING, SPEECHES, AND ACTIVIST WORK, SHE BRINGS LIGHT TO THE MANY SACRIFICES THAT MEMBERS OF THE DIASPORA, LIKE MY PARENTS, MAKE IN HOPE OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE. HER NARRATIVES OF LOVE, GRIT, AND DIVERSITY GIVE A VOICE TO THE VOICELESS, AND POWER TO THOSE WHO HAVE OFTEN BEEN OVERLOOKED BY HISTORY. SHUYU: TODAY, WITH THE UTMOST HONOR, WE INTRODUCE TO YOU OUR 2019 YALE CLASS DAY SPEAKER>> MS. CHIMAMANDA NGOZI ADICHIE. [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE: THANK YOU FOR THAT WARM WELCOME. I’M JUST FEELING THE LOVE. CONGRATULATIONS, GRADUATES IN THE CLASS OF 2019. SO, LAST YEAR THE CLASS DAY SPEAKER WAS HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON. THIS YEAR, YOU GOT ME. [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] AND SO — AND SO, I WANT TO START BY TELLING YOU HOW SORRY I AM. [ LAUGHTER ] AND BY THE WAY, CONSIDERING THE LAST THREE YEARS, I IMAGINE YOU MUST HAVE BEEN — FOR LAST YEAR’S CLASS TO HEAR FROM A POLITICIAN WHO IS AN ACTUAL ADULT. [ APPLAUSE ] TO HEAR FROM A PERSON WHO IS ARTICULATE, EXPERIENCED, THOUGHTFUL, LITERATE, MEASURED, AND WITH AN ADULT’S VOCABULARY. [ APPLAUSE ] IT’S BEEN TEN YEARS SINCE I WAS HERE IN GRADUATE SCHOOL. I WASN’T ALWAYS HAPPY HERE. FOR REASONS HAVING TO DO MORE WITH ME THAN WITH YALE. SO, IT WASN’T YALE, IT WAS ME. BUT I WOULDN’T CHANGE ANY OF IT. IT’S GOOD TO BE BACK. AND TO BE REMINDED OF SPENDING HOURS IN THE BOOKSTORE AND GETTING DINNER AT THE INDIAN RESTAURANT THAT MY HUSBAND AND I LOVED. AND ATTENDING SEMINARS IN PROFESSOR’S HOUSE WHICH WAS FULL OF OBJECTS THAT HE COLLECTED IN CENTRAL AFRICA IN THE 1960s. AND THERE WAS ALSO THE SLIGHTLY AWKWARD SEMINARY TOOK ON AFRICAN LITERATURE IN WHICH MY OWN NOVEL WAS PART OF THE CURRICULUM. [ LAUGHTER ] I JUST SAT THERE AND SAID NOTHING. AND I WASN’T SURE WHAT TO DO WITH MY FACE. [ LAUGHTER ] BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, BEING HERE AT YALE AFFORDED ME MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO ENGAGE IN THAT ACTIVITY THAT IS ESSENTIAL FOR A FICTION WRITER: EAVESDROPPING. I DID IT IN THE LIBRARY, IN THE GYM. BY WALKING A LITTLE TOO CLOSE TO PEOPLE IN THE HALLWAYS. AND FOR A WRITER, ALMOST NOTHING IS OUT OF BOUNDS IF IT LEADS TO COLLECTING MATERIAL FOR FICTION. AND YALE, HAVING SUCH A WIDE RANGE OF INTERESTING PEOPLE, I MEAN, JUST LOOK AT YOUR HATS. THE MATERIAL I COLLECTED HERE WAS ABSOLUTE GOLD. THANK YOU SO MUCH. I’M VERY HONORED AND VERY HAPPY TO BE YOUR CLASS DAY SPEAKER. THANK YOU FOR INVITING ME. I KNOW YOU’RE ALL EXCITED TO BE GRADUATING. AND WHILE I CONGRATULATE YOU, I ALSO WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT IT ONLY GOES DOWNHILL FROM HERE. [ LAUGHTER ] WELL, NO, NOT REALLY, NOT REALLY. WHEN I GRADUATED FROM UNDERGRAD, I FELT UNMOORED. THE STRUCTURE OF EXPECTATIONS WAS GONE. NO MORE CLASSES TO ATTEND. NO MORE PAPERS TO WRITE. AND THE WORLD FELT WIDE OPEN, DISORIENTING, DIZZYING. I WAS FULL OF CONTRADICTIONS. AND I WAS IN A BATTLE WITH MYSELF ABOUT MY CONTRADICTIONS BECAUSE I DID NOT KNOW THEN THAT IT IS HUMAN AND OKAY TO HAVE CONTRADICTIONS. I WAS FULL OF UNCERTAINTY. AND I DID NOT KNOW THAT CONFIDENCE IS A JOURNEY. A CONTINUOUS JOURNEY. AND NOT AN ABSOLUTE DESTINATION. AND I WANT TO TELL YOU THIS NOW TO SAVE YOU YEARS OF FIGURING IT OUT YOURSELF. THERE ARE DAYS WHEN YOU WILL BE BURSTING WITH CERTAINTY. AND DAYS WHEN YOU WILL BE FLATTENED BY DOUBTS. AND IT HELPS A LITTLE TO KEEP IN MIND HOW UNIVERSAL THIS IS. THERE’S SO MANY THINGS I SAID I WOULD NEVER DO WHEN I WAS YOUNGER. AND I NOW DO MANY OF THEM. I WOULD GIVE YOU DETAILED EXAMPLES, BUT I DON’T WANT TO UNNECESSARILY ALARM YOU. THE POINT IS, BE OPEN TO CHANGING YOUR MIND. IT IS OFTEN A SIGN OF GROWTH. BE OPEN TO THE POSSIBILITY THAT YOU MIGHT BE WRONG. IDEOLOGY IS A GOOD THING. BUT IF YOU FIND THAT YOU HEW UNQUESTIONINGLY TO EVERY ORTHODOXY OF THE IDEOLOGY YOU SUBSCRIBE TO, THEN MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR SOME AGILITY IN YOUR THINKING. A SMALL SHIFT, FOR EXAMPLE. A SIGN THAT SHOWS YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE COMPLICATED SHADES OF GRAY EVERYWHERE. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT YOU MARRY BEING IDEALISTIC WITH BEING PRAGMATIC. AND IT HELPS TO THINK OF PURITANISM AS TWO EXPENSIVE. AS SOMETHING YOU CANNOT AFFORD. SO, POLITICS IS AWFUL IN ALL SORTS OF WAYS. BUT REFUSING TO PARTICIPATE IS NOT THE ANSWER. SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO GET IN THERE TO BE ABLE TO WALK TOWARDS CHANGING IT TO WHAT YOU WANT IT TO BE. ENGAGE WITH THE WALL THAT’S AS IT IS. OTHERWISE YOU WON’T REALLY GET ANYTHING DONE. BUT AS YOU DO SO, IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE AS YOUR GUIDING LIGHT A CLEAR VISION OF WHAT THE WORLD SHOULD BE. I THINK OF MY WRITING AS MY VOCATION. IT IS WHAT I AM ON EARTH TO DO. BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO KNOW ME NOT FOR MY WRITING, BUT FOR MY SPEAKING ABOUT FEMINISM. I DID NOT SET OUT TO BE A FEMINIST ICON. AND I’M STILL HOPING THAT SOMEBODY WILL MAKE ME A HAT THAT SAYS “FEMINIST ICON.” I HAPPENED TO HAVE A PLATFORM FROM MY WRITING AND I HAPPENED TO FEEL STRONGLY ABOUT JUSTICE IN GENERAL, WITH EQUALITY IN WOMEN IN PARTICULAR, AND I BEGAN TO USE THAT PLATFORM TO TALK ABOUT WHAT MATTERED TO ME. AND IT HAPPENED TO RESONATE WITH PEOPLE WHO ALREADY WERE THINKING ABOUT THE SAME THINGS. IT ALSO HAPPENED TO IRRITATE QUITE A FEW PEOPLE. I REMEMBER A MAN WHO SPENT A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY HIS WIFE ALWAYS HAD TO SUBMIT TO HIM. I WAS A BIT CONFUSED ABOUT WHY ANYBODY WOULD BE SO INSISTENT ON THE IDEA THAT THE RIGHTFUL PLACE FOR A FELLOW HUMAN BEING WAS A PLACE OF PERMANENT SUBJUGATION. WHY WOULD A WELL-BALANCED PERSON NEED ANOTHER PERSON TO SUBMIT? THE WORLD IS FULL OF PEOPLE LIKE THAT MAN. IS IT NECESSARILY MY RESPONSIBILITY TO EDUCATE THEM? NO. DO I WANT TO? YES. WHY? BECAUSE I THINK IT’S WORTHWHILE TO GIVE PEOPLE, MOST PEOPLE, THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT. BECAUSE I THINK IT’S WORTH TRYING TO CHANGE A PERSON’S MIND IF THAT WILL LEAD TO A GREATER HUMAN GOOD. AND BECAUSE, FULL DISCLOSURE, I HAPPEN TO HAVE A MILD CASE OF MESSIAH COMPLEX. I WANT TO CHANGE A SMALL SLICE OF THE WORLD. SO, WILL TRYING TO GET A MAN TO SEE THE FULL HUMANITY OF WOMEN MEAN THAT HE MIGHT, FOR EXAMPLE, STOP JUSTIFYING DOMESTIC ABUSE? MAYBE. MAYBE NOT. BUT I WANT TO TRY. I SEE IT AS TRYING TO WALK TOWARDS MAKING A SMALL SLICE OF THE KIND OF WORLD I WANT TO LIVE IN. I HAVE A DEAR FRIEND WHO LIVES IN LAGOS. HER NAME IS BOSSE, SHE’S AN UTTERLY BRILLIANT GYNECOLOGIST AND HAS A DAUGHTER WHO INHERED HER MOTHER’S GENES. SHE GREW UP IN NAYA AND WENT TO THE UK FOR SCHOOL. SHE EXCELLED AND WAS TOP OF THE CLASS EVERY SUBJECT. THEY WERE THINKING ABOUT WHERE SHE WAS TO GO TO UNIVERSITY. AND BECAUSE I DEEPLY ADMIRE THE AMERICAN LIBERAL ARTS CURRICULUM, I TOLD HER HOW I THOUGHT SHE WOULD BENEFIT FROM GOING TO UNIVERSITY IN THE U.S. RATHER THAN THE UK. HER RESPONSE, IN A VERY CALM, 16-YEAR-OLD VOICE WAS, I DON’T WANT TO GO TO AMERICA BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO DIE. THE STARKNESS, THE DIRECTNESS OF HER WORDS THREW ME OFF FOR A MOMENT. OBVIOUSLY SHE MEANT GUNS. HER MOTHER LATER TOLD ME THAT SHE HAD BEEN PARTICULARLY SCARED BY THE VIDEO OF A WHITE POLICEMAN SHOOTING A BLACK MAN IN THE BACK. THERE IS A FIGURATIVE EXPRESSION FOR A CERTAIN KIND OF A DISRUPTION, A TROUBLEDNESS. THAT EXPRESSION IS EPHAPAMAPARO — AND IT TRANSLATES LITERALLY TO, THINGS ARE NOT STANDING WELL. THE AWKWARD BEAUTY OF THIS EXPRESSION “THINGS ARE NOT STANDING WELL,” BEST CAPTURES MY SENSE OF AMERICA TODAY. TO SAY THAT THINGS ARE FALLING APART, OR HAVE FALLEN APART MIGHT SOUND AS THOUGH ONE IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO ME ME LOW DRAMATIC EXAGGERATION. BUT THINGS ARE NOT STANDING WELL. WHEREVER YOU MIGHT BE ON THE IDEOLOGICAL SPECTRUM, THINGS ARE NOT STANDING WELL IF FEAR IS IN THE AIR THAT AMERICANS BREATHE. I BRING THIS UP BECAUSE I WANT TO SUGGEST THAT AS YOU GRADUATE IN THIS TIME, THAT YOU ASK YOURSELF THE QUESTION, WHAT SHOULD AMERICA BE? SHOULD AMERICA BE A COUNTRY WHERE FEAR IS ALWAYS AN OPTION FOR CHILDREN IN SCHOOL? WHERE A CHILD CAN GO TO SCHOOL AND NEVER COME HOME BECAUSE THAT CHILD HAS BEEN MURDERED BY ANOTHER CHILD WITH A GUN? SHOULD AMERICA BE A COUNTRY WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE IN FEAR OF THEIR LIVES BECAUSE MEMBERS OF THE POLICE DO NOT SEEM TO THINK OF THEM AS FULL HUMAN BEINGS? SHOULD AMERICA BE A COUNTRY WHERE WOMEN ARE IN FEAR OF NOT HAVING FULL AUTONOMY OVER THEIR BODIES? IS A COUNTRY STILL A FULL DEMOCRACY IF FEAR IS IN THE AIR ITS CITIZENS BREATHE? SHOULD AMERICA BE A COUNTRY OF PATRIOTS? PEOPLE INSPIRED BY LOVE AND PRIDE. OR SHOULD IT BE A COUNTRY OF NATIONALISTS? PEOPLE INSPIRED BY HATRED OF ENEMIES. MANY OF THOSE ENEMIES REAL, AND MANY MORE INVENTED. WHAT SHOULD AMERICA BE? CONCEPTUALIZE THAT AMERICA AND THEN MAKE THE CASE FOR THAT AMERICA. NOT ONLY IN OBVIOUS WAYS, SUCH AS HOW YOU VOTE, BUT ALSO IN SMALLER WAYS. HOW YOU TREAT OTHER PEOPLE. HOW YOU THINK OF OTHER PEOPLE. THE THINGS YOU REFUSE TO CONDONE. THE PEOPLE WHOSE GRIEVANCES YOU REFUSE TO DISMISS. ACTS OF KINDNESS YOU DO. THE PEOPLE YOU CHOOSE TO LISTEN TO AND TO HEAR. AND TRYING TO HEAR PEOPLE CAN OFTEN BE THE BEST WAY OF SHOWING THEM THAT THEY MATTER. SO, GOING BY HISTORICAL PRECEDENT, A YALE DEGREE MAKES YOU MORE LIKELY THAN THE AVERAGE GRADUATE TO BECOME PRESIDENT OR A SENATOR. OR A SUPREME COURT JUDGE. A YALE DEGREE MAKES YOU MORE LIKELY TO BECOME A PERSON WHO IN DIFFERENT CAPACITIES WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR POLICIES AND ACTIONS THAT WILL AFFECT THE LIVES OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. NO QUESTION. BY THE WAY, THIS IS PROOF, IF WE EVER NEEDED PROOF, OF HOW FAIR AMERICA’S UNIMPEACHABLE MERITOCRACY IS. NOT. THE POINT IS, THOUGH, IS THAT A YALE DEGREE WILL OPEN DOORS. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO WILL RESENT YOU FOR HAVING A YALE DEGREE. BUT THERE ARE MANY MORE PEOPLE WHO WILL ACCORD YOU THE AUTOMATIC ASSUMPTION OF COMPETENCE. IF YOUR DEGREE DOES END UP PROPELLING YOU TO POWER, REMEMBER THAT IF POWER WERE A JACKET, IT IS MOST FLATTERING ON ALL BODY TYPES WHEN WORN VERY LIGHTLY. IF YOU END UP WALKING IN A NON-PROFIT, REMEMBER THAT THE BEST CHARITY IS THAT WHICH DOES NOT PERPETUATE ITSELF. NEVER FORGET THAT HUMAN BEINGS, ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS WITH DREAMS AND HOPES AND FEARS, WITH PRIDE AND THINGS LIKE DISLIKE AND LIKE ARE THE FORCE OF YOUR CHARITY. NUMBERS, STATISTICS, LANGUAGE, CAN SOMETIMES MAKE THE REAL HUMANITY OF PEOPLE INVISIBLE. AND SOMETIMES PEOPLE YOU EXPECT TO BE GRATEFUL FOR YOUR CHARITY WILL NOT BE. AT LEAST NOT IN THE WAY YOU WANT OR EXPECT. BECAUSE IT CAN BE COMPLICATED TO BE THE RECIPIENT OF CHARITY. IF YOUR JOB INVOLVES TRAVELING AROUND THE WORLD, REMEMBER THAT LOCAL KNOWLEDGE IS ALWAYS BEST. YES, READ THE COUNTRY REPORTS WRITTEN BY THE CIA OR WHOEVER WRITES THOSE REPORTS. BUT PLACE A HIGHER VALUE ON LOCAL KNOWLEDGE. LOCAL NEWSPAPERS, LITERATURE, THE PERSON WHO PICKS YOU UP FROM THE AIRPORT. AND IF YOU ARE ONE DAY ENROBED IN CORPORATE POWER, AND SOME OF YOU HERE CERTAINLY WILL BE, PLEASE HIRE WOMEN AS EXECUTIVES AND NOT JUST IN HUMAN RELATIONS. [ APPLAUSE ] CHANGE THE CULTURE. HAVE AN ON-SITE DAYCARE. MAKE PAID FAMILY LEAVE STANDARD AND ORDINARY. IF YOU FIND YOURSELF WITH POWER IN THE WORLD OF JOURNALISM, BANISH FOREVER THE PRACTICE OF FALSE EQUIVALENCE. JOURNAL YOU FEEL SHOULD BE ABOUT THE TRUTH, NOT ABOUT BALANCE. IF YOU’RE REPORTING ON THE FACTS THAT CLIMATE CHANGE EXISTS, YOU DON’T NEED TO BRING IN A HACK TO SHOW THE OTHER SIDE BECAUSE THERE IS NO OTHER SIDE. [ APPLAUSE ] AND IF YOU DO BECOME A JOURNALIST, PLEASE LEARN HOW TO SAY, “I’M SORRY. ” JOURNALISM SEEMS TO BE A PROFESSION WHOSE PRACTITIONERS HAVE GREAT DIFFICULTY IN SAYING I’M SORRY WITHOUT HEDGING OR EQUIVOCATING. AND SPEAKING OF SAYING SORRY, KNOWING HOW TO SAY I’M SORRY AND MEAN I’M SORRY WILL SERVE YOU WELL NO MATTER WHAT COURSE YOUR LIFE TAKES. AND IF YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE WHO SEEMS UNABLE TO FORM THOSE WORDS I’M SORRY, THERE IS HOPE. PRACTICING IN FRONT OF A MIRROR HELPS. DON’T CHANGE THE SUBJECT. DON’T PRETEND THAT NOTHING HAPPENED. DON’T BUY A GIFT AND DEFLECT. DON’T RIDE IT OUT IN SILENCE HOPING IT WILL GO AWAY. JUST SAY I’M SORRY. A FEW TIMES, IF NECESSARY. AND, OF COURSE, IT HELPS IF YOU ACTUALLY NEED IT. BUT PLEASE DO NOT EVER APOLOGIZE FOR EXISTING. OR FOR TAKING UP SPACE IN THE WORLD. OR FOR HAVING A WELL-CONSIDERED OPINION. AND I SAY THIS PARTICULARLY TO WOMEN WHOSE SOCIALIZATION TEACHES THEM, TEACHES US, TO SHRINK OURSELVES. AS THOUGH OUR RESPONSIBILITY IS NEVER FIRST TO OURSELVES. BUT ALWAYS TO OTHERS. AND WE END UP SOMETIMES FEELING GUILTY FOR WANTING THE THINGS WE WANT. FOR WANTING TO BE OUR OWN SELVES FIRST. THE MESSAGES THAT SOCIETY SENDS US CAN BE COMPLICATE — CONFLICTING. THAT TENSION BETWEEN TELLING YOU TO VALUE YOURSELF, THAT YOU MATTER, AND THEN THAT OTHER MESSAGE THAT TELLS YOU TO PUT OTHER PEOPLE FIRST AND TO SERVE. IT IS POSSIBLE — IT IS NECESSARY — THAT YOU FIND A BALANCE BETWEEN THE TWO. BUT YOU WILL HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF. BUT IF I CAN OFFER A USEFUL GUIDING PRINCIPLE, IT IS THIS: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO MAKE ROOM IN YOUR LIFE FOR PEOPLE WHO WISH YOU HARM. SO, ONE ENDURING LESSON I LEARNED HERE AT YALE IS ALWAYS TO LOOK AT PRIMARY SOURCES FIRST. AND I’VE HELD ON TO THAT LESSON. IT IS, I THINK, A USEFUL LESSON IN EXPRESSION IN THIS AGE OF EASY OUTRAGE. WHEN SO MANY PEOPLE ARE QUICK TO REACT TO AN ISOLATED QUOTE OR SOMETIMES RECEIVED SECOND OR THIRD HAND. SO, I ONCE READ A BOOK REVIEW. AND BASED ON THAT REVIEW I DECIDED NOT TO READ THE BOOK BECAUSE IT DIDN’T SOUND LIKE MY SORT OF THING. LATER, I READ THE BOOK BECAUSE I WAS ALTHOUGH A WRITING RETREAT AND IT WAS SITTING THERE AT A SHELF AND I THOUGHT I WOULD JUST READ ONE PAGE AND THEN I COULDN’T STOP. I LOVED IT. AND I COULD NOT BELIEVE HOW THAT REVIEWER COULD HAVE SO MISCHARACTERIZED THAT BOOK. SO, IF YOU CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CONSULT OF THE OUTRAGE OF THE DAY ON SOCIAL MEDIA, AND IF YOU’RE QUICK TO JUMP IN WITH YOUR BLISTERING TAKE — AND I UNDERSTAND THAT THE ADRENALINE BOOST CAN BE ADDICTIVE — BUT BEFORE YOU JUMP IN THE FRAY, LOOK UP PRIMARY SOURCES FIRST. AND REMEMBER THAT CONTEXT IS ALWAYS QUEEN. THIS IS ALSO, I THINK, A GOOD WAY OF TESTING YOUR OWN BELIEFS. TAKE A LITTLE TIME TO FIND OUT WHAT WAS ACTUALLY SAID OR DONE. AND IF YOU HAVE CONTEXT, THEN MAYBE — MAYBE — YOU MIGHT JUST START TO QUESTION WHAT YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW. HAVING SAID THAT, I DO SOMETIMES WORRY THAT AMERICAN EDUCATION HAS CREATED A CLASS OF BRILLIANT, TALENTED PEOPLE. BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE, NONETHELESS, AFRAID TO SAY THE WRONG THING. EVEN IN OSTENSIBLY SAFE SPACES. IF THE WORLD INSIDE OF COLLEGE WAS SAFE, THEN YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT THE WORLD OUTSIDE OF COLLEGE IS NOT. AND I URGE YOU, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, TO HONOR THE DOUBTS THAT YOU HAVE. HONOR THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE. DON’T SILENCE YOURSELF. SO, I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT A CONVERSATION THAT HAPPENED AMONG A GROUP OF PEOPLE RECENTLY. PEOPLE WHO WERE ACQUAINTANCES, IF NOT FRIENDS. BUT WHO ALL GENERALLY WERE ON THE SAME SIDE. AND I MIGHT OR MIGHT NOT HAVE BEEN EVESDROPPING ON THEIR CONVERSATION. SO, THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT A POLITICIAN AND ONE OF THEM SAID THAT THE POLITICIAN WAS A RACIST BECAUSE THAT POLITICIAN SUPPORTED SCHOOL CHOICE. AT ONE THEN ASKED, TENTATIVELY, BUT HOW? AND THE RESPONSE FROM EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS GROUP WAS A LOT OF EYE ROLLING. A LOT OF SNEERING. AND THEN, FINALLY, ONE PERSON GAVE A TREATISE ON HOW SUPPORTING THIS POLITICIAN WAS SUPPORTING RACISM. AND NOBODY TOLD WHY SUPPORTING SCHOOL CHOICE WAS INCORRECT. AND THERE’S A VALID ARGUMENT, AND THEY WERE LEFT NOT KNOWING THE ARGUMENT AND PERHAPS LEFT FEELING HEAVIER WITH SEVERAL LAYERS OF SHAME. I WORRY THAT THE SPACES OCCUPIED BY THE EDUCATED IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE BECOME PLACES WHERE CURIOSITY IS CONSIDERED PASSE. IT IS NOW AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE EVERYONE IS ALREADY SUPPOSED TO KNOW, SUPPOSED TO GET IT. AND THOSE WHO DON’T ARE SEEN AS MORALLY LACKING. IF THERE IS A LESSON HERE, IT IS THAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT A SELF-RIGHTEOUS SNEER IS NOT AN ARGUMENT. DON’T BE THAT PERSON WHO ATTACKS OR DEMEANS BECAUSE YOU ARE UNABLE TO CONVINCE. I KNOW THAT THE IDEA OF BRINGING RECEIPTS IS A THING IN YOUR GENERATION. IT WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE IF SOMEONE IN THAT GROUP HAD BROUGHT RECEIPTS. MAKE THE ARGUMENT, CLARIFY, EXPLAIN, DO THE WORK, CITE STATISTICS IF YOU NEED TO. AND BRING THE DARNED RECEIPTS. WHEN I STARTED OUT WRITING, I WAS DOING WHAT I LOVED. WHAT GAVE ME THE GREATEST JOY. AND I HOPED ALSO TO BE READ. AND TODAY I FEEL GRATEFUL TO BE READ, TO BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY. TO BE HERE. MY WORK IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME. IT’S CENTRAL TO MY LIFE. BUT THE MOMENT OF GREATEST JOY FOR ME ARE NOT NECESSARILY THOSE THAT HAVE TO DO WITH MY SUCCESS. AND SO, PLEASE NURTURE YOUR AMBITIONS. SEEK TO BE SUCCESSFUL. BUT KEEP IN MIND THAT THERE ARE HOLLOWS THAT SUCCESS WILL NOT FEEL. AND, YES, THIS IS WHERE I TALK ABOUT LOVE. I HAVE A SWISS FRIEND WHO ONCE LIVED IN D.C. BUT NOW LIVES IN ZURICH. AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE HAD MADE OF AMERICA WHEN HE LIVED HERE. AND HE SAID, AMERICANS DON’T HAVE FRIENDS BECAUSE THEY’RE TOO BUSY WORKING. HE MEANT, I THINK, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN AMERICA. WHETHER CITIZENS OR NOT. AND SO, I URGE YOU, CLASS OF 2019, TO PROVE HIM WRONG. HAVE FRIENDS. MANY FRIENDS. OR JUST ONE FRIEND. HOLD YOUR FAMILY CLOSE. AND FAMILY DOESN’T NECESSARILY MEAN THOSE WITH WHOM YOU’RE RELATED BY BLOOD OR BY INSTITUTION. HOLD YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE. STAND UP FOR YOUR LOVED ONES. TELL THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE THAT YOU LOVE THEM. TELL THEM OFTEN. FIND REASONS TO LAUGH. GRAVITATE TOWARDS PEOPLE WITH WHOM YOU NEVER FEEL THAT PRESSURE TO PERFORM OR TO BE WHAT YOU’RE NOT. ONE OF THE TENANTS I TRY TO LIVE BY IS NEVER ADMIRE QUIETLY. IF I ADMIRE SOMETHING ABOUT SOMEONE, I LET THEM KNOW. WE DO NOT ALWAYS RECOGNIZE WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL IN OURSELVES, IN OUR SPIRITS, UNTIL SOMEBODY HAS POINTED IT OUT TO US. AND REMEMBER THAT PEOPLE WILL HARDLY EVER FORGET SMALL ACTS OF KINDNESS. I REMEMBER ONCE DURING A PUBLIC EVENT I WAS A LITTLE EXHAUSTED. I WAS A LITTLE GRUMPY. ACTUALLY, I WAS VERY GRUMPY. AND I WAS SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE. NONE OF WHOM SEEMED TO SEE MY EXHAUSTION. AND THEN MY FRIEND WAS THERE, SORT OF LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, SHE’S TIRED. AND I ALMOST BURST INTO TEARS. BECAUSE I FELT SO WONDERFULLY SEEN. BE KIND. PAYING ATTENTION IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ACTS OF KINDNESS. THE PEOPLE YOU WILL COME ACROSS IN YOUR LIFE WILL NOT FORGET WHEN YOU ARE KIND. AND THEY WILL NOT FORGET WHEN YOU’RE UNKIND. I WISH YOU WELL AS YOU GO OUT INTO THE WORLD. I WISH YOU COURAGE. I WISH YOU JOY. AND ON A FINAL NOTE, AS YOU NAVIGATE THE WORLD, IT MIGHT BE HELPFUL FROM TIME TO TIME TO FORGET THAT YOU WENT TO YALE. CONGRATULATIONS. [ APPLAUSE ] DR. MARVIN CHUN: ON BEHALF OF YALE COLLEGE, I WANTED TO THANK YOU AGAIN FOR BEING THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF YOUR WISDOM, INTELLECT AND INSPIRATION. THANK YOU FOR YOUR MESSIAH SPIRIT. YOU ARE READ, YOU ARE HEARD, YOU ARE SEEN, YOU ARE LOVED. THANK YOU. [ APPLAUSE ] OKAY. SO, WE HAVE A LITTLE EXERCISE TO DO HERE WITH ALL THE SENIORS. BUT FIRST, I WANT TO ASK THE FOLLOWING STUDENTS TO COME UP TO THE SEATS OVER HERE IN THE FRONT ROW RIGHT IN THE BAKING SUN. SO, PLEASE COME UP WHEN I CALL YOUR NAME. JUDE ALRAHMAN ALAWA OF BRANFOR. [ APPLAUSE ] HANNAH LOUISE LAWRENCE OF DAVENPORT COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] ANDREA MASTERSON OF JONATHAN EDWARDS COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] LILY MIRFAKHRAIE OF DAVENPORT COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] EREN ORBEY OF JONATHAN EDWARDS COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] A.K. PAYNE OF BERKELEY COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] ALANNA PYKE OF TIMOTHY DWIGHT COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] DEVYN CHRISTINE RIGSBY OF PIERSON COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] SIMON WHITEMAN OF TRUMBULL COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] ALL RIGHT. SO, SENIORS, WE’RE GOING TO DO A LITTLE DRESS REHEARSAL FOR TOMORROW. THE MAIN COMMENCEMENT EVENT HERE. I’LL BE UP ON THE STAGE WHERE I’LL — I’LL BE KIND OF STANDING RIGHT THERE FACING PRESIDENT SALOVEY AND I WILL BE PRESENTING YOU ALL TO HIM SO THAT YOU CAN RECEIVE YOUR DEGREES. I’LL BE SAYING A FEW WORDS. THE LAST TWO SENTENCES OF MY REQUEST ARE GOING TO BE LIKE THIS: “THEY HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED BY THE FACULTY OF YALE COLLEGE AND APPROVED BY THE CORPORATION. I NOW ASK YOU, BY YOUR OFFICIAL ACT, TO CONFER UP THEM THESE DEGREES. “. SO, WHEN YOU HEAR THESE WORDS” CONFER UPON THEM THESE DEGREES” — THAT’S WHEN YOU WANT TO SHOW THE WORLD HOW EXCITED YOU ARE TO BE GRADUATING. OKAY? SO, YOU JUST DO YOUR THING. SHOUT OUT AS LOUD AS YOU CAN. WE’RE GOING TO PRACTICE. AND WE’RE GOING TO BE WITH ALL THE PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS, FAMILIES, ON TV AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT. SO, LET’S HAVE A GOOD PRACTICE HERE. AND, AGAIN, AT THE END OF THESE DEGREES — THEY HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED BY THE FACULTY OF YALE COLLEGE AND APPROVED BY THE CORPORATION. I NOW ASK YOU, BY YOUR OFFICIAL ACT, TO CONFER UPON THEM THESE DEGREES. WE’LL TRY AGAIN. I MEAN, LIKE, THESE OTHER PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS, THEY GOT CONFETTI GOING. THEY’RE JUST A LOT MORE BOISTEROUS. WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO TRY THIS AGAIN. ONE LAST TIME. AGAIN, I’M FACING PRESIDENT SALOVEY. “THEY HAVE BEEN RECOMMENDED BY THE FACULTY OF YALE COLLEGE AND APPROVED BY THE CORPORATION. I NOW ASK YOU, BY YOUR OFFICIAL ACT, TO CONFER UP THEM THESE DEGREES”. [ CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ] OKAY. THAT’S MUCH BETTER. STANDING UP, ALL THAT, WAVE YOUR FLAGS. WE LOOK FORWARD TO IT TOMORROW. GREAT. [ LAUGHTER ] VICTORIA CHUN: THANK YOU, BROTHER CHUN. WILL VARSITY THREATS ANDREA MASTERSON, SIMON WHITEMAN, CAPTAINS OF THE CROSS COUNTRY AND BASEBALL TEAMS, PLEASE COME TO THE PODIUM? [ APPLAUSE ] [ APPLAUSE ] ANDREA, YOU WILL GO DOWN IN THE BOOKS AS ONE OF THE ALL-TIME GREATS IN YALE WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY. YOU ARE THE IVY LEAGUE HEPTAGONAL CROSS-COUNTRY INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION FOR 2018, A THREE-TIME NCAA QUALIFIER, A TWO-TIME NCAA ALL-REGION HONORS RECIPIENT AND A TWO-TIME HYP CROSS COUNTRY INDIVIDUAL CHAMPION. IN TRACK AND FIELD, YOU HAVE WRITTEN YOUR WAY ONTO THE ALL-TIME LISTS IN FOUR EVENTS. ANDREA, YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED ALL OF THIS IN YOUR SPORT AT TH SAME TIME YOU WERE MAJORING IN ARCHITECTURE – AS LEGEND HAS IT ONE OF THE MOST TIME-CONSUMING MAJORS AT YALE! IT TAKES A SPECIAL PERSON TO DO THAT. WE WISH YOU LUCK ON THURSDAY A YOU WILL RACE AT THE NCAA FIRST ROUNDS IN JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA TO QUALIFY FOR THE NCAA FINALS. FOR YOUR SUPERB ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS AN ATHLETE, YOUR SUCCESS IN THE CLASSROOM AND YOUR LEADERSHIP AND FOR EXEMPLIFYING IN YOURSELF THE COMMITMENT, THE HARD WORK AND EXCELLENCE OF SO MANY VARSITY ATHLETES AT YALE, YALE TAKES GREAT PRIDE IN PRESENTING YOU ONE OF THE MOST DISTINGUISHED RUNNERS IN YALE WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY HISTORY WITH THE NELLIE P. ELLIOTT AWARD. [ APPLAUSE ] SIMON, YOU, AS WELL, HAVE BEEN THE CAPTAIN OF YOUR TEAM, A LEADER TO WHOM OTHERS, AND I, LOOK. IN COMING TO YALE, YOU MOVED FROM SECOND BASE TO SHORTSTOP, AND WITH VERY HARD WORK, BECAME WHAT YOUR HEAD COACH SAYS, IS THE BEST SHORTSTOP HE HAS EVER HAD IN 27 YEARS AT YALE. [ APPLAUSE ] DEFENSIVELY, YOUR PLAY AT SHORTSTOP HELPED YALE LEAD ALL OF DIVISION I BASEBALL IN DOUBL PLAYS PER GAME IN 2019 AND THE 2018 TEAM SET AN ALL-TIME DIVISION I RECORD FOR FIELDING PERCENTAGE. AS A HITTER, YOU WERE AT THE T OF THE BASEBALL LINEUP; INCREDIBLY, YOU GRADUATE WITH THE SECOND MOST HITS – 213 – AN STOLEN BASES – 71 – IN THE ENTIRE 154 YEARS OF YALE BASEBALL HISTORY. [ APPLAUSE ] THIS AND YOUR TEAMMATES’ EFFOR LED TO TWO IVY LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS. SPORTS MEDIA OUTLETS PREDICTS YOU TO BE A PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL PLAYER AND DRAFTED THIS JUNE. [ APPLAUSE ] SIMON, YOU HAVE DONE ALL OF TH WHILE – GUESS WHAT? WINNING THE DELANEY KIPUTH AWARD FOR THE HIGHEST GRADE POINT AVERAGE OF ANY GRADUATING SENIOR VARSITY STUDENT-ATHLETE WITH A 3.97 GPA IN CHEMICAL ENGINEERING. [ APPLAUSE ] YOUR LOWEST GRADE IN SEVEN SEMESTERS WAS AN A- IN FRESHMAN LAB. I BET THAT PROFESSOR FEELS BAD. IN YOUR JUNIOR YEAR YOU WERE T CO-RECIPIENT OF ONE OF YALE’S MOST PRESTIGIOUS PRIZES FOR AN UNDERGRADUATE, THE FRANCIS GORDON BROWN PRIZE, AN AWARD ALSO WON BY A FORMER YALE BASEBALL GREAT, U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE HW. BUSH. FOR YOUR INCREDIBLE PERFORMANC ON THE FIELD AND IN THE CLASSROOM – ALWAYS WEARING A TI TO CLASS – AND FOR KNOCKING IT OUT OF THE PARK IN BOTH AREAS, YALE TAKES ENORMOUS PRIDE IN AWARDING YOU THE WILLIAM NEELY MALLORY AWARD FOR 2019. [ APPLAUSE ] CONGRATULATIONS TO THE BOTH OF YOU AND TO THE SENIOR CLASS OF 2019! [ APPLAUSE ] JULIA ADAMS: ALANNA PYKE, WILL YOU PLEASE COME UP TO THE STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] AND JONATHAN SALAZAR, WILL YOU PLEASE JOIN ALANNA? [ APPLAUSE ] THE NAKANISHI PRIZE IS AWARDED TO TWO GRADUATING SENIORS WHO, WHILE MAINTAINING HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, HAVE PROVIDED EXEMPLARY LEADERSHIP IN ENHANCING RACE OR ETHNIC RELATIONS AT YALE COLLEGE. THIS YEAR’S PRIZES ARE AWARDED TO ALANNA PYKE OF TIMOTHY DWIGHT COLLEGE AND JONATHAN SALAZAR OF PAULI MURRAY COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] ALANNA PYKE, A MOLECULAR, CELLULAR, AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY MAJOR HAILING FROM THE MOHAWK NATION AT AKWESASNE, HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS A “FEARLESS LEADER” OF THE NATIVE COMMUNITY KNOWN FOR HER “GRACE, DIGNITY, AND STRENGTH.” SHE HAS SERVED AS TD’S BIG SIB COORDINATOR; AS A MEMBER OF THE STUDENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE TO THE CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF RACE, INDIGENEITY, AND TRANSNATIONAL MIGRATION; AND AS A PEER LIAISON FOR THE NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER COMMUNITY. AS PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDEN FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF NATIVE AMERICANS AT YALE, SHE HAS DEVOTED HERSELF TO SUPPORTING INDIGENOUS PEOPLE’S DAY CELEBRATIONS AND THE IVY NATIVE CONFERENCE ON INDIGENOUS FEMINISMS, RE-ESTABLISHING THE ANAAY POWWOW, AND ADVOCATING FO WATER PROTECTORS AT STANDING ROCK. NEXT YEAR SHE WILL BE SERVING A RESEARCH SCHOLAR IN THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES AT HARVARD AS SHE PREPARES TO APPLY TO DOCTORAL PROGRAMS. FOR HER REMARKABLE SERVICE AND LEADERSHIP, YALE COLLEGE IS HONORED TO AWARD THE NAKANISHI PRIZE TO ALANNA PYKE. [ APPLAUSE ] JONATHAN SALAZAR, AN ETHNICITY RACE & MIGRATION MAJOR, HAS BEE DESCRIBED AS A LEADER, A FRIEND AND A SCHOLAR. ARRIVING AT YALE AS A SECOND-YEAR STUDENT, WITH AN ACUTE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT IT WAS LIKE TO BE “NEW” AT YALE AND SEEKING CONNECTION, JONATHA HAS HAD AN OUTSIZED IMPACT IN THE MANY ROLES HE HAS PLAYED. H HAS SERVED AS A PEER LIAISON FO LA CASA CULTURAL, AS A MEMBER O BALLET FOLKLORICO, MECHA, AND L CASA’S SENIOR EVENTS COMMITTEE, AND AS ONE OF THE INAUGURAL FIRST-GENERATION LOW INCOME STUDENT AMBASSADORS. THIS YEAR, HE SERVED AS HEAD FIRST-YEAR COUNSELOR FOR PAULI MURRAY COLLEGE. IN ALL THESE ROLES, HE HAS DEDICATED HIMSELF TO MAKING EVERYONE FEEL WELCOME, CONNECTED AND INCLUDED. FOLLOWING GRADUATION, JONATHAN WILL BE RETURNING TO NEW MEXICO TO BEGIN WORK AS A PARALEGAL WHILE PREPARING FOR GRADUATE SCHOOL. FOR HIS EXTRAORDINARY SERVICE AND LEADERSHIP, YALE COLLEGE IS HONORED TO AWARD THE NAKANISHI PRIZE TO JONATHAN SALAZAR. [ APPLAUSE ] JUDE ALAWA, WILL YOU PLEASE CO UP TO THE STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] THE JAMES ANDREW HAAS PRIZE IS AWARDED ANNUALLY TO “THAT MEMBE OF THE SENIOR CLASS IN YALE COLLEGE WHOSE BREADTH OF INTELLECTUAL ACHIEVEMENT, STRENGTH OF CHARACTER, AND FUNDAMENTAL HUMANITY SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY THE FACULTY TO HAVE PROVIDED LEADERSHIP FOR HIS OR HER FELLOW STUDENTS, INSPIRING IN THEM A LOVE OF LEARNING AND CONCERN FOR OTHERS.” THIS YEAR THE HAAS PRIZE IS AWARDED TO JUDE ALRAHMAN ALAWA OF BRANFORD COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] JUDE ALAWA GRADUATES WITH DISTINCTION IN THE GLOBAL AFFAIRS MAJOR, WITH A SECOND MAJOR IN MOLECULAR, CELLULAR, AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, AND AS A GLOBAL HEALTH STUDIES SCHOLAR. JUDE IS DEEPLY COMMITTED TO PROVIDING HEALTHCARE TO VULNERABLE COMMUNITIES. HE IS THE FOUNDER AND DIRECTOR OF SAHHA WA SALAAM, A NON-PROFI ORGANIZATION THAT PROVIDES HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TO SYRIAN REFUGEES ACROSS THE MIDDLE EAST. AS PRESIDENT OF THE YALE ROTARACT CLUB, HE HAS SUPPORTED REFUGEE POPULATIONS AND LOCAL UNDERSERVED RESIDENTS. AND IN NEW HAVEN, HE HAS VOLUNTEERED HIS TIME AT THE HAVEN FREE CLINIC PROVIDING HEALTH SERVICES TO UNINSURED PATIENTS, AND TEACHING AND TUTORING STUDENTS IN LOCAL SCHOOLS. AS A SCHOLAR, JUDE ALREADY HAS LIST OF PUBLICATIONS, WITH ARTICLES IN PRINT AND FORTHCOMING ON CANCER TREATMENT IN DISPLACED POPULATIONS, REFUGEE HEALTH, AND COMMUNITY HEALTH CARE. HE HAS RECEIVED MULTIPLE AWARDS AND FELLOWSHIPS IN SUPPORT OF HIS RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY, INCLUDING THE FULBRIGHT SCHOLARSHIP AND THE FOX INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP. NEXT YEAR, HE WILL BEGIN A MASTER’S OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT THE CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY. FOR HIS DEDICATION TO PUBLIC SERVICE AT HOME AND ABROAD, YAL COLLEGE IS PROUD TO BESTOW THE JAMES ANDREW HAAS MEMORIAL PRIZ UPON JUDE ALRAHMAN ALAWA. [ APPLAUSE ] JACLYN PRICE: HI EVERYONE, I’M. JONATHAN SALAZAR: AND I’M ONTHAN. JACLYN: AND WE’LL BE INTRODUCI SOME OF THE CLASS DAY TRADITIONS. JONATHAN: BEGINNING IN 1851, EACH GRADUATING CLASS HAS LAID AN IVY PLANT SOMEWHERE ON YALE’ CAMPUS, SYMBOLIZING THE ENDURIN NATURE OF THE FRIENDSHIPS MADE IN THE PAST FOUR YEARS. THIS YEAR, OUR CLASS IVY WILL BE PLACED RIGHT OUTSIDE OF PHELPS GATE, UNDERNEATH A STONE CARVING OF THE CLASS OF THE YEAR OF 2019. FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS WHO WAL THROUGH PHELPS GATE AND ENTER YALE COLLEGE, THE IVY AND THE STONE WILL BE SYMBOLS OF THE RESILIENCE AND STRENGTH OUR CLASS FOUND HERE. JACLYN: NOW, IF YOU LOOK IN TH BAG UNDERNEATH YOUR CHAIR, YOU’LL FIND A CLAY PIPE AND SOME BUBBLES. THE PIPE IS KNOWN AS THE CHURCHWARDEN PIPE, AND IT’S BEE GIVEN TO GRADUATING SENIORS SINCE 1869. NEEDLESS TO SAY, IF THIS WERE 1869 YALE CLASS DAY, THINGS WOULD LOOK A LOT DIFFERENT: WE’D BE SITTING IN A BIG CIRCLE, WEARING TWEED JACKETS AND SMOKING TOBACCO OUT OF THESE PIPES. NOW WE SIT TOGETHER ON OLD CAMPUS, WEAR FUNNY HATS, AND BLOW BUBBLES. STILL, THE TRADITION OF THE CHURCHWARDEN PIPE HAS ENDURED FOR NEARLY 150 YEARS. JONATHAN: A LOT OF TIME HAS PASSED. AND YALE NO LONGER LOOKS THE W IT ONCE DID. THE YALIES OF NOW DON’T LOOK LIKE THE YALIES OF THE 1800’S. BUT THE PLANTING OF THE IVY AND THE CHURCHWARDEN PIPE ARE TWO TRADITIONS THAT UNITE GENERATIONS OF YALE GRADUATES. JACLYN: TO SPEAK MORE ABOUT CHANGE AT YALE IN ALL ITS FORMS IT IS MY PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE LARRY FULTON AND HIS CLASS REFLECTION, “HOW TO SPOT A YALI” [ APPLAUSE ] LARRY FULTON: GOOD AFTERNOON. DOESN’T LOOK LIKE I HAVE ANY NOTES UP HERE. WHERE’S MOHAMMAD AT? HEY! THAT’S MY FRIEND MOHAMMAD. I’M GOING TO OUT HIM FOR A SECOND. HE THINKS THAT HE CAN SPOT A YALIE ANYWHERE. HE SAID, “I SAW THE WHIFFENPOO IN BEIJING.” DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT? YEAH, YOU DID. YOU DID. MAKE MESS WONDER — HOW DID HE KNOW THAT IT WAS THE WHIFFS? HOW DID HE KNOW THAT IT WAS THE WHIFFS? YOU KNOW, MAYBE IT WAS AS EASY AS ASKING SOMEONE THEIR RESIDENTIAL COLLEGE. WHAT WAS THEIR FAVORITE SANDWICH AT ALPHA DELTA? DID THEY TAKE A CLASS CALLED THE GOOD LIFE AND — OR IS IT SOMETHING ELSE ENTIRELY THAT BINDS YALIES TOGETHER? BUT WHAT IS THAT SOMETHING? AND WHAT DOES IT HAVE TO DO NOT JUST WITH EVERYONE WHO IS HERE IN THE AUDIENCE TODAY, BUT WITH THE THOUSANDS OF YALIES WHO HAVE OCCUPIED THIS UNIVERSITY BEFORE US. THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF CHANGE A YALE EVEN IN OUR FOUR YEARS. TWO NEW COLLEGES. HOPPER. FRESHMEN ARE NOW FIRST YEARS. SORRY WE’RE AT — SORRY, JE SUCKS. FRESHMEN ARE NOW FIRST YEARS. MASTERS ARE HEADS OF COLLEGE. NEXT YEAR ANYONE CAN LIVE IN GENDER-NEUTRAL HOUSING IF THEY SO CHOOSE. AND AUDITION FOR THE WHIFFENPO. BUT THIS COMES AS NO SURPRISE YALE HAS ALWAYS BEEN A PLACE THAT’S EMBRACED SHARP DIFFERENCES IN OPINION, WHERE BIG IDEAS HAVE CLASHED. WE ARE, AFTER ALL, THE SCHOOL JOHN ASHCROFT AND JOHN KERRY. BILL BUCKLEY AND BILL COVEN. WE MAY HAVE BEEN RIGHT OR WRONG, LEFT OR RIGHT, BUT WE HAVE CERTAINLY ALWAYS BEEN ENGAGEED. AND IT IS THROUGH THIS CLASH, THIS PUSH OF IDEAS AGAINST EACH OTHER, AT YALE, THAT CHANGE HAS BEEN BORN. AT THE HEIGHT OF THE GREAT DEPRESSION THE S.A.T. WAS ESTABLISHED TO PROVIDE MORE STUDENTS STUDENTS TO ATTEND UNIVERSITIES LIKE YALE. THEN ON CAMPUS, YALE’S STUDENT BODY STARTED TO CHALLENGE THE UNIVERSITY TO PAY ITS WORKERS MORE. WHILE AALUMNI WROTE LETTERS OPPOSING POINTLESS NEW LAW SCHOOL COURSES IN ECONOMICS AND POLICY. 30 YEARS LATER, IN 1969, YALE ADMITTED ITS FIRST CLASS OF WOMEN. IT WAS THAT SAME YEAR THAT THIS CAMPUS ERUPTED AS A BATTLEGROUND OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. FOR A YEAR, BLACK PANTHERS BOB SEALE AND ERICKA HUGGINS STOOD TRIAL IN NEW HAVEN. THOUSANDS OF PROTESTORS FLOODED THE GREEN. AND YET YALE PRESIDENT KINGMAN BREWSTER INSISTED ON OPENING CAMPUS. DINING HALLS PROVIDED MEALS, A STUDENTS PROVIDED HOUSING TO PEOPLE WHO HAD COME TO SPEAK THEIR TRUTH. THEN FOUR YEARS AGO, YALE ADMITTED THE CLASS OF 201937 ITS MOST DIVERSE CLASS OF STUDENTS EVER. AND THE TIMES TRIED TO ACT LIKE WE WERE YALE’S FIRST RODEO. I DON’T THINK SO. THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN DISAGREEMENT AND DEBATE HERE, WHAT BINDS US AS YALIES ISN’T THE SPECIFIC CONTROVERSIES. IT’S THE TRAINING IN ANALYTICAL THINKING. THE INSTRUCTION TO VALUE EMPAT AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AND DIFFERENCE IN OPINION. IT’S LEARNING FROM WATCHING OU FRIENDS IN SCHOLARSHIP AND THE REALMS OF MUSIC, ART, THEATER, ARCHITECTURE — THAT NOT EVERYTHING THAT COUNTS CAN BE COUNTED, WHILE NOT ALL THAT CAN BE COUNTED REALLY COUNTS. AND MORE THAN THAT THERE IS AN ETHOS HERE – A SPIRIT OF ACKNOWLEDGMENT – AMONG ALL THOS WHO MAY DISAGREE. CLICHÉ AS IT MAY BE, YALIES STRIVE TO ENGAGE IN THE WORLD AND TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. IT’S SIMPLY IN THE AIR HERE. FOR ME, THAT’S YALE. THIS WEIRD, ROWDY BUNCH OF KIDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE. COMMITTED TO LUX ET VERITAS AND COMMITTED TO EACH OTHER AND A THIS THEY CAN DO ANYTHING. IN 1939, YALIES RICH AND POOR REDEFINED THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT. IN 1969, YALIES MALE AND FEMAL OF ALL COLORS HELD THIS COUNTRY’S LEGAL SYSTEM ACCOUNTABLE. IN 2019 NOW WE ARE INSEPARABLE ISOLATIONISTS, UNDOCUMENTED MODEL-CITIZENS, SPIRITUAL ATHEISTS, STOIC REVOLUTIONARIES, TOMBOYISH GUYS, PRESIDENTIAL PRE-MEDS. AND IT’S ANYONE’S GUESS WHAT OR LEGACY WILL MANIFEST. ONE THING IS CERTAIN. YALE IS NOT NAIVE IN CHOOSING A CLASS. WHEN THIS PLACE HAS CHOSEN TO OPEN ITS DOORS TO MORE OF US, TO NEW TYPES AND NEW BREEDS, HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE. AND THIS TIME AROUND, THEY CHOSE US. THEY CHOSE US TO ENGINEER A SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE. TO KEEP DESTRUCTIVE WEAPONS OUT OF THE WRONG HANDS. THEY CHOSE US TO BUILD AN INCLUSIVE WORLD IN WHICH KIDS DON’T HAVE TO COME TO A PLACE LIKE YALE FOR A FAIR CHANCE AND AN EQUAL SHOT. [ APPLAUSE ] SO, WITH ALL OF THAT I REPEATED MY QUESTION TO MOHAMMAD. I ASKED, HOW COULD YOU SPOT THE WHIFFENPOOFS IN BEIJING? HUSBAND ANSWER, WELL, THEY WALK AROUND IN BOW TIES. FAIR ENOUGH. FAIR ENOUGH. SOME OF US ARE PRETTY EASY TO SPOT, ESPECIALLY TODAY. WHAT’S IN HERE? SPEAKING OF DEAN CHUN, PRESIDENT SALOVEY, ESTEEMED FACULTY AND STAFF. LOVED ONES, FAMILY MEMBERS, THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING. YOU CHALLENGED US, CERTAINLY, BUT ALLOWED US TO DO THE SAME. THROUGHOUT, YOU WERE FIRM IN YOUR VALUES, TELLING US THAT WE WOULD MAKE IT HERE. THROUGH THE TEARS, ANXIETIES, SCIENCE AND WRITING CREDITS. TODAY IS PROOF THAT TOGETHER WE COULD MAKE IT. AND TO MY FELLOW GRADUATES OF — AND FRIENDS IN THE CLASS OF 2019: WE WERE ACCOMPANIED HERE BY A WAVE OF CHANGE. THEN WE ELECTED AN ALDER, WE FOUNDED EVERY VOTE COUNTS. WE PROVED THAT SOME PEOPLE DO HAVE SUPERPOWERS. AND WE LEARNED THE WORLD OVER. BECAUSE LIKE YALIES FROM MANY GENERATIONS, WE DON’T SIMPLY STUDY HISTORY. YOU SPOT A YALIE AT THE EDGE OF HISTORY. MAKING A DIFFERENCE. PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES AND LEAVING A LEGACY. HERE’S TO YOU, CLASS OF 2019. FOR THE PAST FOUR YEARS AND FOR THE LIFETIME COMMITMENT TO SERVICE AND TO HUMANITY THAT WE WILL CARRY WITH US OUT INTO THE BROADER WORLD. THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS. [ APPLAUSE ] MARVIN CHUN: SO, HERE’S HOW TO SPOT A YALIE. A YALIE IS A STUDENT WHO IS MORE ERUDITE AND ELOQUENT THAN THEIR DEAN. GREAT JOB. LILY SPARROW MIRFAKHRAIE, WILL YOU PLEASE COME UP TO THE STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] THE WARREN MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOLARSHIP PRIZE, FOR THE SENIOR MAJORING IN THE HUMANITIES WHO RANKS HIGHEST IN SCHOLARSHIP, IS AWARDED THIS YEAR TO LILY SPARROW MIRFAKHRAI OF DAVENPORT COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] LILY IS A FIERCELY PROUD WEST VIRGINIAN AND HEAD FIRST YEAR COUNSELOR IN DAVENPORT COLLEGE. BALANCING A DOUBLE MAJOR IN THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE, MEDICINE AN PUBLIC HEALTH AND MOLECULAR, CELLULAR AND DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY, SHE WAS ELECTED TO PHI BETA KAPPA IN HER SENIOR YEAR AND GRADUATES SUMMA CUM LAUDE, WITH DISTINCTION IN BOTH HER MAJORS. EVEN AS A FIRST-YEAR STUDENT, LILY’S INSTRUCTORS COMMENTED ON HER “UNUSUAL SENSITIVITY IN DEALING WITH CHALLENGING MATERIAL.” SHE BROUGHT THAT SAME SENSITIVITY TO BEAR ON HER SENIOR ESSAY WHICH EXPLORES THE HISTORY OF COAL COMPANY PHYSICIANS IN CENTRAL APPALACHI. LILY IS THE RECIPIENT OF THE Y-WORK AWARD IN RECOGNITION OF HER OUTSTANDING CONTRIBUTIONS A AN UNDERGRADUATE EMPLOYEE. IN RECOGNITION OF HER EXTRAORDINARY ACHIEVEMENTS, YALE COLLEGE IS PROUD TO AWARD THE WARREN MEMORIAL HIGH SCHOLARSH PRIZE THIS YEAR TO LILY SPARROW. [ APPLAUSE ] HANNAH LAWRENCE, WILL YOU PLEA COME UP TO THE STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] THE RUSSELL HENRY CHITTENDEN PRIZE IS AWARDED ANNUALLY FOR THE SENIOR MAJORING IN THE NATURAL SCIENCES OR IN MATHEMATICS WHO RANKS HIGHEST IN SCHOLARSHIP. THIS YEAR’S PRIZE IS AWARDED T HANNAH LOUISE LAWRENCE OF DAVENPORT COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] HANNAH HAS DISTINGUISHED HERSE AS A DOUBLE MAJOR IN APPLIED MATHEMATICS AND COMPUTER SCIENCE. ELECTED TO PHI BETA KAPPA IN H JUNIOR YEAR, HANNAH GRADUATES SUMMA CUM LAUDE WITH DISTINCTION IN BOTH HER MAJORS. IN A FIELD THAT SELDOM CHANGES ANSWER KEYS, HANNAH’S SENIOR PROJECT ADVISER IN APPLIED MATHEMATICS STATES THAT SHE OFFERED A “SOLUTION THAT IS BETTER THAN WHAT IS KNOWN FOR THIS PROBLEM.” HANNAH HAS BALANCED HER EXTRAORDINARY PERFORMANCE IN TH CLASSROOM WITH HER PASSION FOR MUSIC, PLAYING AS A DEVOTED MEMBER OF THE YALE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA’S FIRST VIOLIN SECTION. HANNAH HAS ALSO CONTRIBUTED HE TALENTS AS A MEMBER OF THE YALE COLLEGE STUDENT ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON SCIENTIFIC AND QUANTITATIVE REASONING, ADVISI THE YALE COLLEGE DEAN’S OFFICE ON MATTERS RELATED TO UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION. IN RECOGNITION OF HER COMMITME TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE, YALE COLLEGE PROUDLY AWARDS THE RUSSELL HENRY CHITTENDEN PRIZE TO HANNAH LOUISE LAWRENCE. [ APPLAUSE ] CAN YOU PLEASE COME UP TO THE YOU PLEASE COME UP TO THE STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] THE LOUIS SUDLER PRIZES, FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PERFORMING AN CREATIVE ARTS, ARE AWARDED TO TWO OUTSTANDING SENIORS. EREN ORBEY IS A WRITER WHOSE WORK SHOWS INTELLECTUAL RIGOR, EMOTIONAL DEPTH, AND STYLISTIC GRACE. WHILE DOUBLE-MAJORING IN COMPUTER SCIENCE AND ENGLISH, WITH A CONCENTRATION IN CREATIV NONFICTION, EREN HAS CONTRIBUTE EIGHTEEN ESSAYS AND PROFILES TO THE NEW YORKER, WITH TOPICS RANGING FROM PERSONAL HISTORY T CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY TO WOMEN’S GYMNASTICS. WITH COURAGE AND BEAUTY, HIS CREATIVE THESIS, THE BASIS OF A PLANNED BOOK-LENGTH MEMOIR, ADDRESSED THE IMPACT OF A DEVASTATING FAMILY TRAGEDY AND ENTAILED TRAVEL TO ANKARA, TURKEY; THE READING OF HUNDREDS OF PAGES OF DEPOSITIONS, LEGAL TRANSCRIPTS, AND POLICE REPORTS AND PROFOUND SELF-EXAMINATION. EREN GRADUATES MAGNA CUM LAUDE, PHI BETA KAPPA, AND WITH DISTINCTION IN BOTH OF HIS MAJORS. HE WILL PURSUE GRADUATE STUDIE IN MODERN MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIE AT OXFORD NEXT YEAR AS A RHODES SCHOLAR. [ APPLAUSE ] ALEXIS “A.K.” PAYNE IS AN ACCOMPLISHED DRAMATIST WITH ASTONISHING PROMISE. A DOUBLE MAJOR IN AFRICAN-AMERICAN STUDIES AND ENGLISH, SHE GRADUATES WITH DISTINCTION IN BOTH, AND WITH A CONCENTRATION IN PLAYWRITING. IN WORKS PRODUCED AT THE YALE DRAMAT AND THE YALE PLAYWRIGHTS FESTIVAL, A.K. HAS TRAINED HER FIERCE MORAL VISION AND FINELY TUNED EAR ON THE FRAUGHT AND AUTHENTIC LIVES OF PEOPLE IN REAL PLACES AND IN REAL SITUATIONS, LAYING BARE THE URGENT POETRY OF VOICES THAT, A SHE MOVINGLY INSISTS, NEED TO B. BE HEARD. HER PLAYS ANIMATE THE EXPERIENCES AND ASPIRATIONS OF PEOPLE OF COLOR IN AMERICAN HISTORY, AND HER MENTORS AND PROFESSORS NOTE HER WORK’S DEEP COMPASSION, HISTORICAL RESEARCH AND POLITICAL URGENCY. IN THE FALL, A.K. BEGINS THE M PROGRAM IN PLAYWRITING AT THE YALE SCHOOL OF DRAMA. [ APPLAUSE ] FOR HER EXCEPTIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENTS ON THE PAGE AND STAGE, AND FOR HER BRIGHT FUTUR AHEAD, YALE COLLEGE IS HONORED TO AWARD THE LOUIS SUDLER PRIZE FOR EXCELLENCE IN THE PERFORMIN AND CREATIVE ARTS TO A.K. PAYNE. [ APPLAUSE ] DEVYN RIGSBY OF PIERSON COLLEG WILL YOU PLEASE COME UP TO THE ? STAGE? [ APPLAUSE ] THE ARTHUR TWINING HADLEY PRIZ WHICH HONORS THE MEMORY OF THE MAN WHO SERVED AS PRESIDENT OF YALE FROM 1899 TO 1921, IS AWARDED ANNUALLY TO THE SENIOR IN YALE COLLEGE MAJORING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES WHO RANKS HIGHEST IN SCHOLARSHIP. THE ALPHEUS HENRY SNOW PRIZE I AWARDED TO THAT “SENIOR WHO THROUGH THE COMBINATION OF INTELLECTUAL ACHIEVEMENT, CHARACTER, AND PERSONALITY, SHALL BE ADJUDGED BY THE FACULT TO HAVE DONE THE MOST FOR YALE BY INSPIRING IN HIS OR HER CLASSMATES AN ADMIRATION AND LOVE FOR THE BEST TRADITIONS OF HIGH SCHOLARSHIP.” THIS YEAR, BOTH THE HADLEY AND THE SNOW PRIZE ARE AWARDED TO DEVYN CHRISTINE RIGSBY OF PIERSON COLLEGE. [ APPLAUSE ] ELECTED TO PHI BETA KAPPA AFTE JUST FOUR TERMS OF ENROLLMENT, — AND SHE HAS BEEN DEEPLY INVOLVED IN RESEARCH AND LEADERSHIP IN GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND SCIENCES. SHE HAS BEEN A U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND AREA STUDIES FELLOW FOR ARABIC AND THE MIDDLE EAST, AS WELL AS A FELLOW FOR THE PEACE AND DIALOGUE LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE. SHE HAS ALSO SERVED AS A LEGISLATIVE INTERN FOR THE STAT OF ILLINOIS AND AS AN INTERN IN THE EGYPTIAN CONSULATE OF CHICAGO. AND AS AN EXTENSION OF HER WOR IN THE SCIENCES, DEVYN HAS BEEN A RESEARCH ASSISTANT IN THE YAL UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE DEPARTMENT OF SURGERY AND SURGICAL CRITICAL CARE. DEVYN BRINGS THE SAME RIGOR AN EXCELLENCE TO THE LEADERSHIP ROLES SHE HAS HELD AS PRESIDENT OF YALE’S PHI BETA KAPPA CHAPTER, AND AS AN ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YALE COLLEGE COUNCIL SINCE THE FALL OF 2015, FILLING THE ROLE OF ACADEMIC POLICY DIRECTOR AND CHIEF OF STAFF. TAKEN TOGETHER, HER ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND HER FIELDS OF SCHOLARSHIP SHOW EXTRAORDINARY PROMISE AS SHE PREPARES FOR A LIFE OF SERVICE IN GLOBAL HEALTH POLICY AND REFUGEE HEALTHCARE IN THE ARAB WORLD. IN RECOGNITION OF HER CONTRIBUTIONS TO HER FIELDS OF SCHOLARSHIP, HER LOVE OF LEARNING, AND HER DEDICATION TO THE COMMON GOOD, YALE COLLEGE I PROUD TO AWARD BOTH THE ALPHEUS HENRY SNOW PRIZE AND THE ARTHUR TWINING HADLEY PRIZE TO DEVYN CHRISTINE RIGSBY. [ APPLAUSE ] MANASI PATWA: HI EVERYONE. MY NAME IS MANASI. ANNALISE GRAVES: AND MY NAME IS THATLISE. MANASI: WE ARE TWO OF THE MEMBERS OF THE CLASS DAY COMMITTEE. ANNALISE: BEFORE INTRODUCING T NEXT SPEAKERS, WE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TO SHARE TWO OTHE CLASS DAY TRADITIONS. MANASI: FIRST, WE WANTED TO INTRODUCE YOU ALL TO AN IMPORTANT TRADITION THAT YOU WILL SEE TOMORROW DURING THE COMMENCEMENT CEREMONIES. DURING THE COMMENCEMENT PROCESSION THE RECIPIENTS OF THE TOP FIVE ACADEMIC PRIZES THAT WERE JUST AWARDED BY DEAN CHUN WILL CARRY AN OFFICIAL FLAG OR BANNER. ANNALISE: THE WINNERS OF THE WARREN MEMORIAL PRIZE, RUSSELL HENRY CHITTENDEN PRIZE, ARTHUR TWINING HADLEY PRIZE, SUDLER PRIZE, AND ALPHEUS HENRY SNOW PRIZE CARRY THE AMERICAN FLAG, CONNECTICUT FLAG, YALE COLLEGE BANNER, PRESIDENT’S BANNER, AND YALE UNIVERSITY BANNER, RESPECTIVELY. MANASI: SECOND, WE WOULD LIKE INTRODUCE YOU ALL TO A SPECIAL ITEM YOU WILL GET TO TAKE HOME WITH YOU. SENIORS, IN YOUR CLASS DAY BAG IS A BOOKLET THAT CONTAINS REFLECTIONS, WORKS OF ART, AND POETRY THAT CAPTURE OUR SHARED YALE EXPERIENCE-WE CALL THIS TH 2019 CLASS ANTHOLOGY. THESE PIECES WERE CREATED BY STUDENTS, ADMINISTRATORS, AND MEMBERS OF THE FACULTY WHO WISHED TO SHARE INSIGHTS REGARDING OUR CLASS. OUR TEAM SELECTED PIECES THAT FOUND TO BE EXCEPTIONALLY REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR TIMES HER AS STUDENTS-BOTH THE HAPPY EXPERIENCES AND THE MORE CHALLENGING ONES. ANNALISE: AS THE ANTHOLOGY TEA WE WENT INTO THIS PROJECT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SINGULAR YALE EXPERIENCE. WE PUT TOGETHER THIS COLLECTIO WHICH ENCOMPASSES A VARIETY OF PERSPECTIVES, AND WE HOPE YOU’L TAKE THE TIME TO READ THROUGH I AND REFLECT ON YOUR OWN FOUR YEARS HERE. YOU MIGHT BE SURPRISED AT THE THEMES THAT TIE US TOGETHER. MANASI: THIS YEAR, WE HAVE ALS INCLUDED SEVERAL BLANK PAGES AT THE BACK OF THE ANTHOLOGY. FEEL FREE TO USE THIS SPACE FO NOTES, YOUR OWN REFLECTIONS, OR CLASSMATES’ SIGNATURES. REQUEST IS-NO “HAGS” COMMENTS. “HAGS” COMMENTS. IT’S NOT HIGH SCHOOL ANYMORE. MANASI: NOW, IT IS OUR PLEASUR TO INTRODUCE THE NEXT STUDENT SPEECH, WHICH WILL BE SIGNIFICANTLY FUNNIER THAN ANY JOKES WE JUST TRIED TO MAKE. ANNALISE: EACH YEAR, THE CLASS DAY TEAM SELECTS ONE OR MORE STUDENTS TO PROVIDE A LIGHT-HEARTED REFLECTION ON OUR YALE EXPERIENCE. THIS YEAR’S SPEAKERS ARE RAFFAELLA DONATICH AND JOHN ROS. THEIR SPEECH IS TITLED, “VOWS THE CLASS OF 2019.” MANASI: PLEASE JOIN US IN WELCOMING THEM TO THE PODIUM. [ APPLAUSE ] JOHN ROSENBLUTH: PRESIDENT SALOVEY, DEAN CHUN, BELOVED FRIENDS AND FAMILIES, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US HERE TODAY. AND TO THE CLASS OF 2019. RAFFAELLA: YOU DID THAT! JOHN: YOU DID THE HECK OUT OF THAT! RAFFAELLA: PAPERS? THEY WERE JOHN: P-SETS WERE TURNED IN. RAFFAELLA: A LITTLE LATE. JOHN: AND YOU DIDN’T FORGET YOUR ADVISOR’S LAST NAME AT YOUR MELLON FORUM. RAFFAELLA: HEY, YOU IN THE BACK? I HOPE YOU’RE READY FOR THE PULITZER PRIZE IN RADIO JOURNALISM COMING AT YOU IN THE NEXT 10 TO 12 YEARS! JOHN: YOU IN THE FRONT? BOOM! FOUNDER OF THE NEXT BIG FAIR-TRADE, CBD COSMETICS BRAND RAFFAELLA: SITTING IN FRONT OF US TODAY IS THE NEXT GENERATION OF PROLIFIC WRITERS AND THINKERS. JOHN: CAPTAINS OF INDUSTRY, ROBBER BARONS. RAFFAELLA: YOU’VE ALL ACHIEVE SO MUCH, AND WE’RE SO PROUD TO CALL YOU OUR CLASSMATES AND OUR. FRIENDS. BUT JOHN: BUT IF I’M NOT MISTAK THERE’S A, UH, BIT OF AN ELEPHANT IN THE QUAD, IF YOU WILL. RAFFAELLA: OKAY, JOHN, YOU DO KNOW THE EXPRESSION IS “ELEPHAN IN THE ROOM.” JOHN: RAFFI, I KNOW, I’M JUST TRYING TO ADAPT THAT IDIOM TO CAMPUS LIFE. GOD! RAFFAELLA: ANYWAYS. I’M JUST GONNA SORT OF TAKE A MOMENT TO EMBRACE RADICAL VULNERABILITY RIGHT NOW, YOU KNOW IT IS 2019 AFTER ALL, OUR GRADUATING YEAR, AND, I’M JUST GONNA SAY IT: ROMANTICALLY, I’M UNFULFILLED. [ APPLAUSE ] JOHN: FOUR YEARS OF DATING AT YALE HAVE BEEN…EXCRUCIATINGLY PAINFUL. RAFFAELLA: IT HAS BEEN, HONESTLY, THE MILITARY-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX OF ROMANCE. JOHN: NOBODY KNOWS HOW IT WORK SOMEBODY IS GETTING SO FREAKING RICH, AND SOMEBODY’S GONNA GET HURT. SOMEBODY’S GOING TO GET HURT. RAFFAELLA: IT’S DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE. JOHN: THE EMOTIONAL APPARATUS THE CLASS OF 2019 HAS BEEN BLOW APART BY NUCLEAR GRADE WEAPONRY RAFFAELLA: AND AT AN INSTITUTIO LIKE YALE THAT IS SO FOCUSED ON SUCCESS, WE JUST WANT TO TAKE A SECOND TO ACKNOWLEDGE SOME OF OUR FAILURES. JOHN: YEAH, WE’VE ALL BEEN STOOD UP BY A TINDER DATE AT WESLEYAN BECAUSE SHE WAS PREPARING HER FAKE DEAD HERMIT CRAB FOR A FAKE BURIAL. YES, THIS ACTUALLY HAPPENED, AND, YES, I’M STILL UPSET ABOUT IT. RAFFAELLA: WE’VE ALL HAD A CRU ON A TF, I DON’T KNOW, I’M NOT LIKE THINKING ABOUT ANYONE SPECIFICALLY RIGHT NOW, BUT MAYBE IN THE CONTEMPORARY ART HISTORY CLASS WE TOOK SOPHOMORE SPRING, IN WHICH WE ACCIDENTALL AND CONFIDENTLY SAID “I LOVE YOU” TO THEM AT THE END OF SECTION. JOHN: DID THEY SAY IT BACK? RAFFAELLA: YEAH, WE’RE ACTUALLY MOVING TO BROOKLYN TOGETHER AFTER GRADUATION. OH, JEEZ, SERIOUSLY? RAFFAELLA: OBVIOUSLY NOT. JOHN: I’M SO SORRY. RAFFAELLA: AND, YOU KNOW WHAT? I ALSO WANT TO HIGHLIGHT A DYNAMIC THAT WE ALL MISSED THE BOAT ON OUR PERSONAL. RIGHT? LIKE, YEAH. [ LAUGHTER ] YEAH. LIKE, THEY WERE THE ONE PERSON AT THIS UNIVERSITY WE COULD COUNT ON TO RESPOND TO US IN A PRODUCTIVE AND HEALTHY WAY. JOHN: UM, ACTUALLY, MY PERSONAL LIBRARIAN GHOSTED ME. RAFFAELLA: ARE YOU SERIOUS? JOHN: YEAH, I TOLD HER THAT ORBIS ADVANCED SEARCH WAS ANYTHING BUT AN INTUITIVE, USER FRIENDLY, COMPREHENSIVE DATABASE, AND SHE REFUSED TO SPEAK TO ME AGAIN. RAFFAELLA: YOU KNOW, THIS CONVERSATION IS REALLY OPENING UP A DEEP WELL OF REJECTION, FRUSTRATION, AND PERSONAL PAIN. JOHN: HONESTLY, SAME. DO YOU REMEMBER OUR VERY FIRST WEEK ON CAMPUS? RAFFAELLA: CAMP YALE? JOHN: MORE LIKE CAMP FAIL AMIRITE? RAFFAELLA: WE’LL WORKSHOP THAT JOHN: ANYWAY, SUE ME, BUT I WAS UNPLEASANTLY SURPRISED WHEN I LEARNED THAT “WALKING ON TO THE FOOTBALL TEAM” DIDN’T MEAN THAT I COULD JUST SIMPLY WALK ONTO THE FIELD AND BE WELCOMED INTO BROTHERHOOD OF STRONG, VIRILE, AND PLAYFUL MEN. [ LAUGHTER ] RAFFAELLA: YEAH, I THINK WE AL REALIZE THAT YALE IS GUILTY OF SOME PRETTY FALSE ADVERTISING. WE ARRIVE ON MOVE-IN DAY, EQUIPPED WITH OUR TWIN XL SHEETS, READY TO TAKE RISKS AND EXPLORE ALL OF THE AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES WE WERE PROMISED. JOHN: LITTLE DID WE KNOW, THAT TO WORK IN A COLLEGE BUTTERY, YOU HAVE TO HAVE EARNED A MICHELIN STAR. I’M JUST LIKE, I KNOW HOW TO P A DINO NUGGET IN A MICROWAVE. RAFFAELLA: YEAH, TO GET ACCEPTE INTO PROFESSOR ANNE FADIMAN’S ILLUSTRIOUS WRITING SEMINAR, “WRITING ABOUT ONESELF,” YOU HAVE TO HAVE WRITTEN MOBY DICK. AND BECAUSE THE CLASS IS ABOUT THE MEMOIR, YOU, IN FACT, HAVE TO HAVE BEEN A SPERM WHALE. JOHN: SPEAKING OF WHALES: IN HIGH SCHOOL, WE WERE BIG FISH IN SMALL PONDS. THEN AWAY CAME TO YALE AND WE FIGURED OUT WE WERE ACTUALLY SMALL FISH ON A REALLY BIG FOOTBALL TEAM. RAFFAELLA: I’LL SAY IT: BEING GAINFULLY ENROLLED AT THIS UNIVERSITY CAN BE STRESSFUL. JOHN: AND THE WAY YALIES DEAL WITH STRESS IS HONESTLY KIND OF UNHINGED. RAFFAELLA: YEAH, I THINK IT’D GOOD FOR ALL OF US TO RECOGNIZE NAKED PARTIES AS ONE OF THE MOS BIZARRE, HIGH-MAINTENANCE, NOT-LOW-KEY TRADITIONS IN THE HISTORY OF HUMAN TRADITIONS. JOHN: “HI, IT’S JOHN FROM DAIL. THEMES. I’M NOT WEARING ANY CLOTHES EAT. HOW ARE YOU? I’M INCREDIBLY ANXIOUS.” RAFFAELLA: WE ARE AWARE THAT THERE ARE PARENTS IN THE AUDIENCE. JOHN: WE ARE ALSO AWARE THAT SOME OF YOU MAY HAVE MET AT YALE. RAFFAELLA: AND WE HATE THAT. JOHN: YEAH. REALLY NOT COOL, GUYS. RAFFAELLA: THE EXPECTATION OF FINDING YOUR SPOUSE AT YALE IS TOO MUCH PRESSURE. AND NOT THE POINT. JOHN: LIKE, I’M TRYING TO WRIT A 5 TO 8-PAGER ON INFLATION IN THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC, ALL RIGHT? I CAN’T BE EXPECTED TO THINK ABOUT RAISING A FAMILY. RAFFAELLA: YEAH, I’M JUST TRYIN TO INTENTIONALLY AND THOUGHTFULLY UTILIZE MY DURFEE SWIPE. I’M IN ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE TO GET MARRIED. JOHN: SOME OF US WILL END UP MARRYING SOMEONE IN OUR FROCO GROUP. RAFFAELLA: OTHERS OF US WILL NOT. JOHN: BECAUSE, SERIOUSLY, COLLEGE IS WEIRD. THEY THROW US ONTO THE FIFTH FLOOR OF L-DUB — THERE IT IS. THERE IT IS. AND NOW ALL OF A SUDDEN WE HAVE TO WEAR FLIP-FLOPS IN THE SHOWER FOR LEGITIMATE HEALTH CONCERNS. AND WE’RE EXPECTED TO FIND OUR SOUL MATES. RAFFAELLA: AND MY DEAN IS SERIOUSLY TRYING TO TELL ME THA THAT DOESN’T FULFILL MY SOCIAL SCIENCE DISTRIBUTIONAL REQUIREM? JOHN: RAFFI IS CREDIT-DEFICIE AND WILL BE RETURNING IN THE FALL. RAFFAELLA: THAT IS NOT INCORRECT. JOHN: WELL, I THINK WE CAN ALL SAFELY SAY THAT WE GAVE DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE THE OLD COLLEGE TRY. RAFFAELLA: GET IT? CUZ WE’RE ALL GRADUATING COLLEGE RIGHT NOW. JOHN: THAT WAS A PLAY ON WORDS BASED ON THE SITUATION. RAFFAELLA: BUT CAN I GET REAL FOR A SECOND? JOHN: YEAH, DO IT, DO IT, DO I, DO IT. RAFFAELLA: EVEN THOUGH COLLEGE HAS NOT YIELDED ME MY LIFE PARTNER, I AM GRADUATING RIGHT NOW WITH SOME PRACTICE TAKING CARE OF THE PEOPLE I LOVE. JOHN : YEAH, I MEAN, TALK ABOUT “IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH,” YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN MY ROOMMATE GO FULL GREY’S ANATOMY WHEN I GOT STREPTOCOCCAL PHARYNGITIS. RAFFAELLA: YOU MEAN STREP THROAT? JOHN: YEAH, THAT’S WHAT I SAID “STREPTOCOCCAL PHARYNGITIS.” RAFFAELLA: ALTHOUGH WE’RE LEAVING CAMPUS AND DISPERSING ALL OVER THE WORLD, THE BOTTOM LINE IS: ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART. JOHN: YALE CLASS OF 2019, THIS IS PRETTY DIFFICULT FOR US TO COMMUNICATE, BUT… RAFFAELLA: WE’VE ACTUALLY HAD FEELINGS FOR YOU FOR KIND OF A LONG TIME. WE DIDN’T WANT TO SAY ANYTHING IN CASE IT INTERFERED WITH THIS REALLY AMAZING FRIENDSHIP THING WE’VE GOT GOING. JOHN: BUT, THERE’S NO POINT PRETENDING NOW. YOU’RE THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. RAFFAELLA: WANNA GET A MEAL? JOHN: OR GO TO THE YUAG ON SATURDAY MORNING? RAFFAELLA: WE ACTUALLY HAVE KIND OF INCREDIBL JOHN: I FEEL LIKE THIS GETTING KIND OF SERIOUS. RAFFAELLA: ARE WE EXCLUSIVE, OR? JOHN: DO YOU WANT TO MEET MY PARENTS? THEY’LL PAY FOR DINNER. RAFFAELLA: I THINK WE SHOULD MOVE IN TOGETHER. JOHN: LET’S START WITH A BETA FISH AND THEN WE CAN CONSIDER GETTING A DOG. RAFFAELLA: I JUST FEEL LIKE YOU’RE NOT LISTENING TO ME! JOHN: I’M NOT WILLING TO GIVE UP ON US. RAFFAELLA: I CAN’T HOLD THIS IN ANY LOPPINGER. WILL YOU MARRY ME? JOHN: I LOVE YOU MORE NOW THAN I’VE EVER LOVED YOU BEFORE. RAFFAELLA: YOU LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL IN WHITE. JOHN: I CAN’T BELIEVE WE’RE HAVING TWINS! RAFFAELLA: YALE WILL NAME THEM BENJAMIN AND FRANKLIN. JOHN: 2019, I WOULDN’T WANT TO GROW OLD WITH ANYONE ELSE. RAFFAELLA: AND WOULDN’T WANT TO GRADUATE WITH ANYONE ELSE. TOGETHER: HERE’S TO THE CLASS OF 2019! [ APPLAUSE ] SONNY STEPHENS: HELLO CLASS OF 2019! I’M SONNY STEPHENS. MAYA RODRIGUEZ: I’M MAYA RODRIGUEZ. NICK GIRARD: AND I’M NICK GIRARD. SONNY: WE WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ONE FINAL SET OF CLASS DAY TRADITIONS AND THEN INTRODUCE OUR FINAL STUDENT SPEAKER. THE CLASS REFLECTIONS ARE LEGACIES OF THE DAYS WHEN YALE STUDENTS DELIVERED FORMAL ACADEMIC SPEECHES DURING THIS CEREMONY. TODAY, WE CARRY ON THIS TRADITION WITH THE TWO SHORT SETS OF REMARKS ABOUT THE YALE EXPERIENCE YOU HEARD FROM LARRY FULTON, RAFFI DONATICH, AND JOHN ROSENBLUTH. SPEAKERS AUDITION BEFORE THE CLASS DAY COMMITTEE AND ARE SELECTED BASED ON HOW THEIR PIECES REFLECT OUR FOUR YEARS. SPEECHES THAT SHOW OUR RESILIENCE AND GRIT, BUT ALSO TO SHOW OUR ABILITY TO HAVE FUN. ALONGSIDE THESE REFLECTIONS, T CLASS HISTORY HAS TAKEN MANY FORMS OVER THE YEARS TO TELL TH STORY OF OUR TIME AT YALE. IN KEEPING UP WITH MODERN TECHNOLOGY AND WITH THE INTENT TO PROVIDE AS MUCH STUDENT INPUT INTO THE CLASS HISTORY AS POSSIBLE, DURING THE SINGING O “BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS” YOU WILL SEE A CURATION OF PHOTOS THAT THE CLASS OF 2019 HAS SUBMITTED TO BE DISPLAYED BEFORE US. MAYA: “‘BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS’ WAS WRITTEN IN 1881 BY HENRY DURAND AND HAS BEEN THE UNOFFICIAL ALMA MATER OF YALE SINCE. SUNG AT REUNIONS, FOOTBALL GAMES, AND CLASS DAY, IT REMAIN A SYMBOL OF YALE’S TRADITIONS AND LONG, LONG HISTORY. ON THE LAST LINES OF THE SONG, WE RAISE HANDKERCHIEFS-IF YOU LOST YOURS FROM FRESHMAN YEAR, THE YALE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HAS GENEROUSLY PROVIDED NEW ONES-AN WAVE THEM ALONG, AS YEARS OF GRADUATING CLASSES HAVE BEFORE US, SINGING “FOR GOD, FOR COUNTRY, AND FOR YALE.” NICK: THE ORIGINAL IVY ODE FOR THE CLASS OF 1852, COMPOSED IN LATIN SAPPHIC STANZAS, DESCRIBE A SYMBOLIC CONNECTION BETWEEN THE GROWTH OF THE IVY VINE AND THE FLOURISHING OF THE GRADUATING CLASS. LATIN VERSE HAS GIVEN WAY TO A ORIGINAL SPOKEN WORD OR LYRICAL PERFORMANCE BY A MEMBER OF THE GRADUATING CLASS, BUT THE PURPOSE REMAINS THE SAME. THE LONG-FORGOTTEN SECOND VERS OF “BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS” DESCRIBES HOW, JUST AS THE IVY TWINES AROUND THE OAK, SO TOO ARE OUR HEARTS BOUND TO YALE BY TIES OF LOVE. THE IVY ODE IS A MESSAGE OF RESILIENCE AND FLOURISHING, A CELEBRATION OF WHO WE HAVE BEE AT YALE AND THE LIFETIME AHEAD AS GRADUATES OF THIS UNIVERSITY THE 2019 IVY ODE-ENTITLED “ALL OUR NAMES”-IS WRITTEN AND WILL BE DELIVERED BY ASHIA AJANI. [ APPLAUSE ] “BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS” WILL IMMEDIATELY FOLLOW. PLEASE WELCOME ASHIA. [ APPLAUSE ] ASHIA AJANI: THE FIRST TIME W WALKED ON THIS CAMPUS THE GATES CRIED OPEN AND WELCOMED OUR EAGER SMILES YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE BREATHING LIFE INTO THIS ARCHAIC WALLS MANY OF US PERFECTED OUR ELEVATOR PITCHES DURING FOOT OR CULTURAL CONNECTIONS SOME COMBED THROUGH QUINNIPIAC SOIL DURING HARVEST, LEARNED HOW TO SAY “WELCOME” IN FIVE DIFFERENT LANGUAGES DURING OIS FOCUSED ON WHO MAKES NEW HAVEN GREAT, AND WHEN WE ALL CAME FOR ORIENTATION THE WORLD MELTED INTO A OASIS UNFAMILIAR TO MANY A VOICE SAID, “THIS CAN BE YOUR HOME TOO” — AND WE READILY ACCEPTED. ACCEPTED. AND THIS IS NO EASY TASK, HOME BUILDING THIS CREATION WILL ASK YOU TO BARE YOUR SOUL. TO VIEW YOURSELF IN NEW WAYS UNEXPLORED AND UNCOMFORTABLE AND WE ROSE TO THE TASK. SOMEONE PUT FLOWERS IN YOUR HA DURING SPRING FLING AND TOLD YO YOU WERE BEAUTIFUL. FINALLY, YOU HAD A PROFESSOR W LOOKED LIKE YOU. WHO REMINDED YOU WHY YOU CAME TO THIS CAMPUS. YOU WON A MOCK TRIAL TOURNAMEN YOU GOT YOUR HEART BROKEN. YOU WROTE AN ANGRY LOVE POEM. YOU FINALLY TOLD OFF THAT ONE ARROGANT PERSON IN SEMINAR. YOU WERE, UNWITTINGLY, THAT ONE ARROGANT PERSON IN SEMINAR. YOU SHED A DEAD NAME AND HONORED THE RIGHT VERSION OF YOURSELF WITH CORRECT PRONOUNS AND A NE VIBRANT SHADE OF LIPSTICK. YOU HELPED PUT ON A DRAG SHOW. YOU WATCHED TOO MANY MOVIES IN ONE SITTING, AND DEBATED WITH YOUR SUITEMATES WHETHER OR NOT ZOOTOPIA WAS AN ALLEGORY FOR TH POLICE STATE INTO THE SLANTED HOURS OF THE NIGHT. ALL THE WHILE SMILING AND FALLING DEEPER IN LOVE WITH A PLACE SO SEEMINGLY UNFAMILIAR. HOW THE YEARS ASK US TO CONSIDER OURSELVES. WHAT HAS CHANGED SINCE THOSE FIRST DAYS? HOW OUR EYES AND HEARTS HAVE SOFTENED. HOW WE HAVE GROWN INTO EVEN BETTER VERSIONS OF OURSELVES. AND THAT DOES NOT COME WITHOUT THIS RESPONSIBILITY TO ONE ANOTHER. WHAT WILL WE MAKE OF OURSELVES BEYOND THESE BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS? IN HER POEM “THE SUMMER DAY,” THE LATE AMERICAN POET MARY OLIVER TAKES THE TIME TO OBSERVE AND REFLECT. PONDERS THE GRASSHOPPER, ASKS WHO MADE HER. IN THIS POEM, OLIVER ASKS: WHAT WE PLAN TO DO WITH OUR ONE WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE? OLIVER DOES NOT DEMAND THAT WE BLEED OURSELVES DRY, SEARCHING FOR ADVENTURE. BUT THAT WE MARVEL AT THE MANY STEPS WE HAVE TAKEN TO GET HERE AND THE ONES WE WILL TAKE AFTER CLASS OF 2019, WILL YOU LET THIS WORLD KNOW YOUR NAME IN ALL ITS ITERATIONS WILL YOU TAKE TIME TO PONDER TH GRASSHOPPER WHEN THE EVILS OF THIS WORLD TEMPT US INTO APATHY AND IGNORANCE, WILL YOU REMEMBER THE LOVE THAT YOU FOUND HERE? THE LOVE THAT MADE YOU ASK FOR MORE AND DEMANDED THAT YOU NEVER GIVE UP THIS FIGHT? THE LOVE BORN FROM NEWNESS. THROUGH LAUGHTER, THROUGH SONG. THROUGH CHANT AND PROTEST AND RESILIENCE. WHAT LOVE HAVE YOU CARRIED FRO ALL OF YOUR DIFFERENT HOMES. TO THIS NEW NORTHEASTERN ONE ON THAT ONE NIGHT. YOU KNOW THE ONE. WHERE YOUR HOPE HAD FADED INTO ALMOST NOTHING. AND THE DUSK ASKED MORE OF YOU THAN YOU COULD BEAR. A PRETTY GIRL BROUGHT YOU BOBA AND SAID “DO NOT GO QUIETLY.” THINK OF THE DAWN AND ALL THE HANDS THAT PUSHED YOU TOWARDS THIS MOMENT. THINK OF THE WAYS WE WERE KIND NOT ONLY TO OTHERS, BUT TO OURSELVES. WE — CARRIERS OF LIGHT AND TRUTH — LEAVE OUR MARK WHEREVER WE GO. WHEN THE GATES CLOSE AND OUR TIME HERE HAS DRAWN ITS LAST BREATH, WHAT WILL THIS CAMPUS REMEMBER YOU BE? [ APPLAUSE ] ♪ ♪ BRIGHT COLLEGE YEARS, WITH PLEASURE RIFE ♪ ♪ THE SHORTEST, GLADDEST YEARS OF LIFE ♪ ♪ HOW SWIFTLY ARE YE GLIDING BY ♪ ♪ OH, WHY DOTH TIME SO QUICKLY FLY ♪ ♪ THE SEASONS COME ♪ ♪ THE SEASONS GO ♪ ♪ THE EARTH IS GREEN OR WHITE WITH SNOW ♪ ♪ BUT TIME AND CHANGE SHALL NAUGHT AVAIL ♪ ♪ TO BREAK THE FRIENDSHIPS FORMED AT YALE ♪ ♪ IN AFTER YEARS SHOULD TROUBLES RISE ♪ ♪ TO CLOUD THE BLUE OF SUNNY SKIES ♪ ♪ HOW BRIGHT WILL SEEM THROUGH MEM ‘RY’S HAZE THOSE HAPPY GOLDEN BYGONE DAYS ♪ ♪ OH LET US STRIVE THAT EVER WE MAY LET THESE WORDS OUR WATCH- CRY BE ♪ ♪ WHERE’ER UPON LIFE’S SEA WE SAIL ♪ ♪ FOR GOD, FOR COUNTRY AND FOR YALE ♪ [ APPLAUSE ]>>CONGRATULATIONS, EVERYONE. CLASS DAY IS NOW COMPLETED. [ APPLAUSE ]>>YOU MADE IT. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR COMING AND HAVE A WONDERFUL EVENING. [ APPLAUSE ] ♪

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