University of Pennsylvania Commencement 2015

(bagpipe marching music) (small applause and cheering) (percussive music) (band music) (cheering) (band music) (cheering) (band music) (applause) (band music) (band music) (applause) (cheering and applause) – [Voiceover] Ladies
and gentlemen, may we have your
attention please? We ask that you
familiarize yourselves with the nearest marked exits as a cautionary
procedure, prior to our Commencement Ceremony today. In the event of an
actual emergency, please remain calm, and public
safety and security officials will direct you to
specific locations, where detailed instructions will be provided
for you as needed. Thank you for your cooperation. (band music) (applause) (cheering) (applause) (applause) (applause) – Good morning. The 259th Commencement of the University
of Pennsylvania will now begin. (cheering and applause) ♪ O say can you see ♪ By the dawn’s early light ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ Through the
twilight’s last gleaming ♪ Whose broad stripes
and bright stars ♪ Through the perilous fight ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched ♪ Were so gallantly streaming? ♪ And the rockets’ red glare ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ That our flag was still there ♪ O say does that ♪ Star-spangled banner ♪ Yet wave ♪ O’er the land of the free (holds note) (cheering) ♪ And the home ♪ Of the ♪ Brave? (cheering and applause) – [Speaker] What
a glorious morning for a glorious graduating class. Friends, will you please join me in the spirit of prayer
for our invocation? It is fitting, O Gracious One, that the Penn
Community gather here within the red bricks
of Franklin Field beneath the blue sky above, as we celebrate the
graduating class of 2015. For our graduates, this
is a day of gratitude. For all that they’ve learned, all whom they’ve met, all that they’ve done. Gratitude for all who’ve
helped them get to this moment. Those sitting
right next to them, and those proudly
gazing from the stands. May these graduates also know how thankful we are for them, for all that they’ve
given our university. This is also a day of
pride, rightfully so, for all that they’ve
accomplished in the classrooms, on our fields and courts, on the stage, in our hospitals, and as agents of change
in our community. May these proud graduates know that we are proud
of them as well. Today is also tinged with
a little bit of sadness, at having to leave behind
friends who have become family, a school that’s become a home. May these graduates
know that we too are sad to see them go, for they have been a
truly exceptional class. Yet beyond all else,
Commencement is a
day of celebration, a chance for us to celebrate
these amazing students, all that they’ve done and
all that they will do. May today be filled with joy, like Spring Fling
on a Monday morning. (laughter) Well, not exactly
like Fling, Lord. (laughter) We pray your blessing
on this ceremony, and on the unparalleled
Class of 2015. Amen. Please be seated. (applause) – [Speaker] Good morning. Please welcome Penn
President Amy Gutmann. (cheering and applause) – Wow, welcome everyone, to the 259th Commencement of the University
of Pennsylvania. (cheering and applause) Chairman Cohen, trustees, Ambassador Power,
honored guests, alumni, family and friends, I give you the
great Class of 2015. (cheering and applause) Penn is community where everything is nearby and everyone interacts. Graduates, you have
spent your time here within a few minutes’ walk of everything important, your classmates, your professors, Penn’s libraries
and laboratories, the Greek Lady. Your life at Penn has
been shaped by proximity. Living as I do, on campus
in the President’s House, yes, I do live in the
President’s House. Some may not call
it living, but I do. I’m surrounded by
so many of you, and I know just how
energizing proximity can be. Michael and I have
even found ourselves loudly energized
by your proximity at three or four in the morning. Your Penn experience
also reveals a profound insight. Diverse individuals
interacting in close contact strike sparks of creativity. New ideas arise in each of us from unexpected connections. When diverse people live
and work closely together, societies also make
leaps to new discoveries. But what differentiates
proximity that is creative from stifling overcrowding? Why does one grouping give
us the Harlem Renaissance or Tin Pan Alley, while another, only sterile monotony
or urban despair? The difference, I
think, often stems from our welcoming and benefiting from exposure to the world. Those who see only “my
street,” “my family,” “my tribe,” may
only see a future that looks exactly
like their past. Creativity, by contrast, booms when people joyfully
expose themselves to a larger world. Now, exposure, I have
observed, is a funny thing. You can die from it. You can be arrested for it. Or it can enrich
your life immensely. Your experience at Penn has been this joyful
yet challenging kind of exposure, enriching your lives through a more
global perspective. Your campus home has been a map of the world in miniature. No fewer than 90 countries are represented
among the members of the Undergraduate
Class of 2015. (applause) You transcend oceans
and mountains, you cross borders built
by geography and society, you leap boundaries made by history, ideology and faith. When I talk about bringing
the world to Penn, and Penn to the world,
I’m describing something infinitely more profound
than timezone differences and jet plane travel. I’m imagining the future, and I’m talking about you. (slow orchestral music) – Saeeda Paydar, Kuala
Lumpur, Malaysia. – Yoofi Tarquar, Ghana. (man speaks foreign language) – I am from
Jacksonville, Florida. – I’m from Anchorage, Alaska. – Buenos Aires, Argentina. – Nina Choka, Nairobi, Kenya. (woman speaks foreign language) (man speaks foreign language) – Je suis Paris, en France. – We are in Atlanta, Georgia. – We are in Singapore. – Jackson, Mississippi. – (speaks foreign
language) Hanoi, Vietnam. – I’m in Brasilia, Brazil. – Orlando, Florida. – Harare, Zimbabwe. (woman speaks foreign language) – Rockaway, New York. – We are in Philadelphia. – Penn in the world. (woman speaks foreign language) – Penn en el mundo. (man speaks foreign language) – Penn. (man speaks foreign language) – Penn.
– Penn. – Penn. (man speaks foreign language) – Penn.
– Penn. – The world at Penn. (applause) (cheering and applause) – Yes, I’m proud to say, this may be the only
Commencement speech ever to include the theme song
from Game of Thrones. (cheering) The contrast is most fitting. After all, our
Commencement speaker will be talking
about what she’s seen working at the United Nations. One is a tale of the
titanic struggle of wills in a world perpetually at
the edge of catastrophe, and the other is a
story about Westeros. Truly, it is no coincidence that Game of Thrones has
become a runaway hit. Despite the magic and giants, the White Walkers and dragons, we all can identify
something real in Westeros. It’s the story of a world defined by tribal politics, a world governed
through naked power, driven by violent history
and ancestral hatred. I cannot help but see in it a world that is
uncomfortably close to parts of our own. Its central image is
a throne of swords. Its central location, a 700 foot tall wall of ice, that tries but fails to
keep the other removed. When you rule on an iron throne, walls and barriers are
essential to survival. By contrast, the time
you have spent at Penn has made you adept
at crossing borders and leaping boundaries, but iron thrones
and walls of ice persist in our world, for
as many border crossings as we celebrate,
there are many more who seek to close
those borders down. They seek to rid themselves
of those they consider alien and they insist on
focusing inward. “My street,” “my
family,” “my tribe.” You are the antidote. Because you have embraced
the world at Penn, you stand ready
to move the world beyond hostility and hatred,
and it’s a good thing too. Your global perspective
is what our world needs to confront many challenges. As border crossers, many of you are already setting out
to deliver clean water and affordable healthcare
to under-served communities. Thank you and
congratulations on that. (applause) You are setting out to
provide universal education and leadership opportunities
for girls and boys alike, wherever they live. Thank you for that. (applause) And you are organizing
broad coalitions in defense of
immigration reform, so that our national
borders are not barriers to economic and social justice. Bravo, and may you
and may we succeed. And that’s just the start. By exposing yourself to
a world of differences, you will continue to make
great, innovative leaps. My own life began with a leap. Though I was not
around to witness it. It is the year 1934. It is Nazi Germany. And one young man
chooses to flee the only home he and his
family had ever known. That young man was my father. He traveled to India. He started a business. He began life anew. He got his whole family out. He might have remained in India for the rest of his days, but after 14 years,
he took another leap. This time, to the United States,
for a cross-country trip, where he met a young
woman from New York City. Anybody from New York City here? (cheering) My mom had never left the East
Coast of the United States and my father had
arrived anew from India. A wedding. A newly-wed joint,
jaunt, to India and back. (laughter) That was a Freudian slip. There weren’t joints back then. (laughter and applause) Let me repeat it correctly. A wedding. A newly-wed jaunt together
to India and back, and the outcome stands
before you today. (applause) When I talk to you of the
life-enhancing consequences of leaping boundaries
and crossing borders, and a global perspective, I know whereof I speak. In 2006, I went back to
where my story began. To India. I wanted to visit the house where my father lived
so many years ago. I was welcomed in by a
prominent Indian doctor living there now
with his family, and he shared stories with me from when he was
just a young child. Some of his stories were
about a man from Germany. “I remember your father,”
the doctor told me, as I sat on the couch
with him and his family. “He was a very nice man, “and he was very
good at business. “But he spoke Hindi
with a foreign accent, “so naturally I thought
he was secretly a spy.” Truth in point. When we live globally, we
must expect the unexpected. Today, each of you crosses
a very special border, between your years as a student and your worldly
achievements to come. The unexpected awaits you, and no one can tell you
exactly what will come, but I can tell you this. We here today are sure
of your abilities. We are confident of
your opportunities, and we are very
proud of the good you now go forth to do, crossing borders and
leaping boundaries, so I ask everybody, from
all corners of the globe, and across all borders, stand together with
me now, moms and dads, spouses and partners,
grandmas and grandpas, sisters and brothers,
family and friends, our honored guests, trustees, faculty, please stand and
show our 2015 graduates, who are about to cross
borders and leap boundaries just how proud we are of them. (cheering and applause) Thank you. Enjoy. (cheering and applause) – As Provost, it’s
my great pleasure to acknowledge the many
awards and distinctions accorded our faculty
and students this year. Their achievements,
many of which are listed in your
Commencement program, bring honor both to them, and to the university, and
deserve our full recognition. I urge your special attention to those members of the faculty who have been honored
for their teaching. The eight recipients of the
Lindback Teaching Award, the four recipients of
the Provost’s Awards, and those faculty who
have been accorded teaching awards from
their individual schools. I would also like to recognize those members of our faculty who have stepped down after many years of
distinguished service. These dedicated scholars
have devoted their careers to the acquisition of knowledge, and have shared their
wisdom and their insights with students, inspiring them in their own
intellectual pursuits. Faculty members
who have retired, after a lifetime of
scholarship and teaching, exemplify the high ideals to which all of us in
the Academy aspire. Several members of
the Class of 2015 have distinguished themselves in their academic studies, and in their service
to the university. I will first name those
receiving Senior Class Awards and Leadership Awards, and then acknowledge those
receiving academic honors. Please stand when I
announce your name, and remain standing until
I have completed the list, and I ask the audience to
please hold your applause until all of the award
recipients have been announced. Those receiving Senior
Class Honor Awards are, Denzel Cummings, the Spoon. (cheering) Gabriel Jimenez, the Bowl. (cheering) Taylor Culliver, the Cane. (cheering) Rishi Simha, the Spade. (cheering) Ariel Koren, the
Althea K. Hottel award. (cheering) Joyce Kim, the Gaylord
P. Harnwell Award. (cheering) Victoria Ford, the
David R. Goddard Award. (cheering) Jordyn Feingold, the
R. Jean Brownlee Award. (cheering) Those seniors receiving
leadership awards are, Isaac Lin, Asian Alumni Network
Student Leadership Award. (cheering) Agustina Eskanazi and
Meghan Rose Markham, the Association of
Alumnae Fathers’ Trophy. (cheering) Adisa Williams,
Association of Alumnae Robert J. Alig Senior Award. Emanuel Martinez, Association of Latino Alumni
Student Leadership Award. Talon Ducheneaux, Association of Alumni
Student Leadership Award. (cheering) Makini Hughes, Black Alumni Society
Student Leadership Award. Katherine Mateo, James Brister Society
Student Leadership Award. Markhus Lacroix, Class of 1915 Award. Juan Gomez, Lesbian Gay Bisexual
Transgender Alumni Association Student
Leadership Award. Julie Clanahan, the William A. Levi
Kite & Key Award for Service and Scholarship. The winners of the President’s
Engagement Prizes are, Jodi Feinberg. (cheering) Shadrack Frimpong. (cheering) Katlyn Grasso. Adrian Lievano. (cheering) And Matthew Lisle. (cheering) The winners of the Sol
Feinstone Undergraduate Award are Dhruv Maheshwari, Katherine Mateo, and Nikhil Rajapuram. The winners of the Penn Alumni
Student Award of Merit are, Dawn Androphy, Jesus Fuentes, Katlyn Grasso, and Tess Michaels. (cheering) The Penn Student Agencies Award goes to Natalie Miller. (one person cheers) The Trustees’
Council of Penn Women Michele Huber and
Bryan D. Giles Award goes to Elise Minkin. The Trustees’ Council of Penn
Women Student Leadership Award goes to Madeleine Stevens. And the James Howard
Weiss Memorial Award goes to Jodi Feinberg. Please join me in applauding (applause)
these outstanding young men and women. You may sit down. And now I would
like to acknowledge those who have been elected to the Principal Undergraduate and Graduate Honor Societies. Please stand when I
name each society. Phi Beta Kappa. Matthew Cryer Honor Society. Omicron Kappa Upsilon. Eta Kappa Nu. Tau Beta Pi. Alpha Omega Alpha. Gold Humanism Honor Society. Sigma Theta Tau. Phi Zeta. And Beta Gamma Sigma. Will all those students, who are the recipients
of various prizes and awards granted
by their schools, and departments,
and those who by their academic achievements, have earned scholarships
for advanced study, please also rise. I ask you to join me in saluting (applause)
these outstanding young men and women. – Five days ago,
I became the Chair of the Faculty Senate of the University
of Pennsylvania. I note with pride that
Penn is one of only three of our Ivy League
Peer Institutions to support an independent
Senate Representative of the entire university. So on behalf of the 4,555, give or take a dozen, faculty members, welcome. In addition to educating
and mentoring you this academic year, Penn Faculty have employed gene therapy, to cure hereditary forms
of human blindness, developed a
topological insulator that may one day lead
to a quantum computer, won a MacArthur Genius Award, discovered even more cancers that can be treated effectively with chimeric antigen
receptor T-cell therapy, won several Guggenheim
Fellowships, and expanded the
horizons of Penn to Beijing and beyond. Tradition demands that
I accomplish three tasks as quickly as possible. First, cite the number
of Penn Faculty, second, mention
Benjamin Franklin, and third, bestow some
advice on the graduates. Having accomplished
the first two, let me move to the
most important. Today, all of you graduates
should be full of optimism, likely tinged with a bit of
uncertainty about your futures, which is perfectly acceptable. Many of you perhaps believe you have surmounted uncertainty. You have a job, you know
where you will live, even with mom or dad, and you have
established friendships that you anticipate
will last a lifetime. Attaining what you
think you want, especially early on, seemingly eliminates
uncertainty. You have learned
what it feels like to achieve success, like
the day you received that fat envelope
from Penn Admissions, and today you receive something even more important from Penn. I mention “uncertainty” with
some professional interest as that concept is the
focus of my own research. I am a medical geneticist,
and I have been struck by the irony that as we
are able to scrutinize our individual genomes
in ever more precise ways down to one nucleotide change out of 6.4 billion, we have
more and more difficulty interpreting any
given variation. This gives me and my
genetic counselors considerable heartburn. My faculty were expected
to teach the truth, and rid you of uncertainties. However, we are
notorious for telling our first year medical students that one half of what
we will teach you will be viewed as
incorrect in 10 years. Unfortunately, we just
don’t know which half. I have no doubt that
you, like most humans, have an affinity for certainty, but if you permit me to
quote Oliver Wendell Holmes, a graduate and professor
of the Penn of the North, “Certainty generally
is illusion, “and repose is not
the destiny of man.” Despite this advice, I
trust that you have learned and accepted that many
certainties do exist. Evolution happens, the climate is changing, the universe expands, the Higgs boson exists, vaccines are good, and regardless of
who wrote them, there are Shakespearean
plays and sonnets. Among the nearly 300,000 living Penn alumni,
which you will soon join, some achieved
extraordinary success within the past few months, publishing acclaimed books, being elected President of
the Federal Reserve Bank, winning an Academy Award, and being named Dean of
our School of Nursing. While these types
of accomplishments may seem out of
reach at the moment, take small steps
along a selected path. If things do not evolve
as you initially hoped, you can change your plan, but only if you have one. Moreover, if you ever consider underestimating yourself, seek help. In conclusion, the
faculty members of Penn offer our sincerest
congratulations on your many successes. (applause) – The honorary degrees
will now be conferred. This is a Penn tradition
that dates back to the 1750s. The full text of each citation is included in your
Commencement program. We will begin with
Arthur K. Asbury. (applause) Your unsurpassed medical career spans more than six decades, and you are renowned for
the light you have shed on common neurological diseases. A compassionate caregiver, a trusted mentor, and
a gifted educator, you have been a beloved member of the Perelman School
of Medicine Faculty for more than 40 years. Twice you served
as Interim Dean, and during a critical time, as Executive Vice-President. Your extraordinary legacy will
long be celebrated at Penn, with the Arthur K. Asbury Award for Outstanding
Faculty Mentoring, established in your honor. In recognition of your
extraordinary example as a doctor, scientist
and educator, the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Arthur Asbury, the degree of Doctors of Sciences
honoris causa. (applause)
– [Arthur] Thank you. Thank you, thank you.
– [Amy] Bravo. – [Arthur] Thank you. Okay to sit down now?
– [Amy] Yes. Lee C. Bollinger. (applause) One of the nation’s foremost
scholars of the First Amendment you are a powerful voice for freedom of
speech and the press. A graduate of
Columbia Law School, you served as Law Clerk
for US Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger. Years later, as President of
the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, you led
the school’s litigation in Supreme Court
decisions upholding the value of diversity
in higher education. (applause) As Columbia University’s
19th president, you have established global
centers for education across four continents,
distinguishing Columbia among the world’s
greatest universities. For your leadership
in higher education and your enduring
contributions to freedom, the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Lee Bollinger, the degree of Doctor of Laws honoris causa. – [Lee] Thank you so much. – [Amy] Bravo. Bravo. Joan Myers Brown. (applause) You overcame discrimination as an aspiring ballet dancer, to become an unsurpassed artist, teacher and mentor, a spirit emblematic of
your native Philadelphia. (cheering and applause) In 1960 you opened
the Philadelphia
School of Dance Arts, and founded the
Philadelphia Dance Company, now a premier dance company, known the world over. With great poise,
you have persevered through all obstacles,
including dance’s continuing racial barriers. A founder of the International Conference
of Black Dance Companies and co-founder of the Coalition of African
American Cultural Organizations, you were presented with
the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2012. (applause) For your devotion to dance, for your devotion to
generation of artists, the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Joan Myers Brown, the degree of Doctor
of Arts honoris causa. (cheering and applause) (speech drowned out by applause) Rita Moreno. (cheering and applause) One of a handful
to win the Oscar, the Grammy, the Emmy
and Tony awards, (whooping)
not to mention the Golden Globe, you have built an incomparably
wide-ranging career on stage and screen. By your teens, you had
appeared on radio and broadway and in your first film. A contract with MGM
led to over 40 films, including your
indelible portrayal of Anita in West Side Story. (applause) For which you became the
first ever Latina actress to win the Academy Award. (cheering and applause) You are the proud recipient of the Presidential
Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts. Your artistry is matched by your passion and dedication in fighting against
discrimination, breast cancer, hunger and AIDS. For your perseverance and
enduring artistic contributions the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Rita Moreno, the degree of
Doctor of Arts honoris causa. (cheering and applause) – [Rita] Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. – Ellen Ochoa. (applause) The first Hispanic
woman to go to space. (cheering and applause) You are a role model
for students everywhere. Your passion for learning
led to a Master of Science and a PhD in
Electrical Engineering from Stamford University. Intrigued by the prospect
of research in space, you joined the
astronaut program, eventually logging
nearly 1,000 hours as an astronaut in space. In 2012 you became the
first Hispanic director of NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson
Space Center in Houston. Only the second woman
to serve in that role. Among many honors and awards, four public elementary
and middle schools bear your name. For your courageous service, and for inspiring new
generations of explorers the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Ellen Ochoa, the
degree of Doctor of
Sciences honoris causa. (cheering and applause) (speech drowned out by applause) Samantha Power. (cheering and applause) You are the youngest person ever to serve as US
Permanent Representative to the United Nations. A global thought-leader,
wise beyond your years, you championed the
idea that attending to the world’s most
pressing inequities is the best way to promote
our national interests. After graduating
from Yale University, you headed to Bosnia, in the midst of
genocidal conflict, where you reported for
numerous publications. Knowing you could still do more, you returned home to
attend Harvard Law. We’ll forgive you for that. But you made a lot of it. The war did not leave you. In 2003, your book,
A Problem from Hell, America and the Age of Genocide, won the Pulitzer Prize. (applause) Invited to join the
Obama administration, you became UN
Ambassador in 2013. For your steadfast leadership, your service to your country and for advocating the
rights of all people the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Samantha Power, the degree of
Doctors of Laws honoris causa. (cheering and applause) (speech drowned out by applause) Cass R. Sunstein. (applause) Yours is the most
frequently-cited voice in American jurisprudence. One that has
advanced our ability to design policy that
promotes good choices and avoids bad ones. A prolific author, your insights inform our national discourse on topics as varied as the
health of the Constitution, climate change, gay
rights, immigration, and voter registration. President Obama called
upon you multiple times to bring your
unparalleled insight to an extensive range of issues. First a Law Clerk for Supreme Court Justice
Thurgood Marshall, then a University of
Chicago Law Professor, you are now the
Founding Director of Harvard Law’s Program
on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy. For your countless
thought-provoking contributions, the trustees of the
University of Pennsylvania are honored and pleased
to confer upon you, Cass Sunstein, the degree of
Doctor of Law honoris causa. (cheering and applause) (applause drowns out speech) – As Provost, I have
the honor of introducing our speaker this morning. Not long ago, President Obama added a
new rug to the Oval Office. Woven among the designs were several quotations, including this one. “The arc of the moral
universe is long, “but it bends toward justice.” Those words may be familiar. They were spoken by Dr King on the steps of
the State capital in Montgomery,
Alabama, 50 years ago. The President has often turned to the words of Dr
King for inspiration. To help bend the
world’s arc of morality toward justice, he
turned to Samantha Power. For more than two
decades, Ambassador Power has been our most
forceful and articulate advocate for moral action. To halt genocide
wherever it occurs. To expose as perpetrators, even, or especially,
when they hide behind a veneer of respectability. And to address violations
of human rights and human decencies that shock the
conscience of the world. A Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Harvard Professor,
Samantha Power is perhaps the polar opposite of an ivory towered academic. She has been on the
ground as a reporter in conflict zones
around the world, from Bosnia to Sudan. In articles for the New
Republic, The Economist, and the New Yorker, she has been unsparing
in her criticism of political inertia in
the face of genocide. She speaks her mind, and by her own admission, she has ruffled some feathers. Samantha Power currently serves as the 28th United States
Ambassador to the United Nations and as a member of
President Obama’s cabinet. Previously, she
was Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs
and Human Rights, on the National
Security Council. She founded the Carr Center
for Human Rights Policy at Harvard, where
she has also taught US foreign policy, human rights, and UN reform. Eleanor Roosevelt, the first Chair of the UN Human
Rights Commission, once wrote that we will be the suffers if we let great wrongs occur without exerting
ourselves to correct them. Graduates, I know that
you will be guided on your future path by
an exceptional education. I also hope that your
life will be guided by a firm moral compass, one
that arcs toward justice for all people, everywhere, and one that is exemplimized
by our speaker this morning. Please join me in welcoming Ambassador Samantha Power. (applause) – Thank you, Provost Price. President Gutmann,
trustees, faculty, alumni, friends and family, and Class of 2015. (whooping)
Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? It is an indescribable privilege to share this
remarkable day with you. Graduates, you made it. (cheering) You’ve got your families
and your loved ones, people who have
been in your corner for as long as you
have been breathing here to hail you, some even up on the cheap seats. You’re surrounded by some
of the greatest friends you’ll ever make, people
who will have your backs for decades to come. I’m reminded of the
William Butler Yeats poem, which ends beautifully. “Think where man’s glory
most begins and ends, “and say my glory was
I had such friends.” In many ways, these
bonds are every bit as great an achievement as
the Diploma you may frame. One of my greatest achievements is up here onstage
with me today. I got to marry your Law
School Commencement Speaker, Professor Cass Sunstein, my best friend. (applause) Cass’s commencement
speech yesterday was about Star Wars and the law. (cheering) Our six-year-old, some Jedi knights in the back, our six-year-old, Declan, insists that his dad’s speech
is way better than mine. (laughter) But I’m hoping I get the votes in the over six crowd. (laughter) Cass may be the most-cited
law professor in the world, and the co-inventor of nudging, but in my house
he’s better-known as the man who will
climb onto any roof and into any pond,
no matter how gross, to retrieve wiffle balls crushed by Declan, our
aspiring Major Leaguer. And let’s be real,
none of you graduates and none of us onstage would be here today if we also didn’t have a parent, a step-parent, a
teacher or a mentor who hadn’t made
what mattered to us matter to them
through the years. So grads, let’s give it up to our parents and
our loved ones. (cheering and applause) Now, looking back
on all you’ve done to get to this point, you should feel a great
wind at your backs, and you’re going to need it, because, Class of 2015, the
world outside Penn’s walls leaves a lot to be desired. That is diplomatic speak for,
things are really screwed up. Violent extremist
groups like ISIL are executing civilians
and selling girls like cattle in markets, Russia is using military
force to lop off parts of a neighbor’s territory, thousands of migrants, most fleeing brutal wars in
Africa and the Middle East, are drowning while trying
to cross the Mediterranean. Thousands more Rohingya
and Bangladeshi are fleeing persecution and
economic despair in Asia. These migrants have been
smuggled or trafficked by people who take their money and then abandon them at sea. It feels, as Shakespeare
wrote in The Tempest, “Hell is empty. And all
the devils are here.” Even with all that you’ve
learned in your time at Penn, heading out into a world
that looks like ours can feel overwhelming,
intimidating, paralyzing even. Where do you start on problems that seem so big and injustices that run so deep? How do you go about
making this broken world even a little less broken? I had those same questions more than two decades ago, when I sat where
you are sitting. The challenges that
my generation faced also seemed well
beyond our reach, and it wasn’t as if
warlords or dictators were about to stop
in their tracks if they saw a
Liberal Arts graduate striding purposefully
toward them. While I knew that
individuals had in history, and still could,
make a difference, it seemed presumptuous,
even pompous, to imagine that I
could be part of it, that I could be one of them. And if you had told me that I, an Irish immigrant
to this country, who went to public schools
in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, would not only get to be the United States
Ambassador to the UN, but also be invited to speak
at Penn’s Commencement, I’d have wondered whether
you’d have been spending far too much time
drinking at Smoke’s. (laughter and applause) So you have, in fact. (laughter) I was a good athlete,
a good friend, and a pretty good student, but growing up, I was never
known for my patience, a prerequisite for
tolerating bureaucracy, for my ability to be diplomatic, generally a feature of
practicing diplomacy, or even for my idealism, an absolute necessity for
a career in public service. And yet here I stand before you, having served in
the US government for six-and-a-half
years, still training, I’ll admit, for a black
belt in bureaucracy, and having concluded
that in diplomacy, being diplomatic
is a tad overrated, but after 23 years
in the real world, and especially, especially,
after my time in government, I am more idealistic than I
have ever been in my life. Utterly convinced
that individuals can make a tangible difference in promoting human dignity and in making the world,
and our communities in this country a
little less broken. (applause) Now, I don’t know how many future public servants or
diplomats are out there today. (whooping) A few? Good. Hopefully not only the ones who were drinking at Smoke’s. But I know that this miraculous, miraculous institution,
was conceived as a place to spawn
a spirit of service. In 1749, when Benjamin
Franklin made the case for a college here
in Philadelphia, his vision was
distinct from that of the handful of colleges
in the Colonies at the time. “The aim and end of all
learning,” wrote Franklin, was, “an inclination
joined with an ability “to serve mankind, one’s
country, friends and family.” That’s important. Let me repeat that. “An inclination
joined with an ability “to serve mankind, one’s
country, friends and family” was at the root of the founding of this great institution. A few of you out there
may already see yourselves on the road to answering
Franklin’s call. You may know you have
both the inclination and the ability
to serve usefully, but others of you may question whether you have what it takes to serve your community
or your country, much less mankind or womankind. I’ve spent the past
couple of decades trying to find the ability to match the inclination. In the process, I’ve worn
a lot of different hats. I’ve been a war reporter
and a human rights defender, a professor and a columnist, a diplomat, and by far
most thrillingly, a mother. And what I’ve learned
from all these experiences is that any change worth
making is going to be hard. Period. But there are four
ways, that no matter the field or the profession, the country or the scale, you can improve your odds of making a tangible difference
in a world that needs you. First, and this is foundational, if you want to change the world, start by acting as if. Prior generations have
put this a different way. Fake it ’til you make it. But see what happens
if you act as if you, your little self, can narrow the massive achievement gap between our nation’s rich
and poor public schools. (applause)
Maybe … Maybe, if you set
out to do that, if you act as if, you will find yourself
helping tutor a girl in reading or math at the
school down the block. See what happens
if you act as if you can fight, you, can fight, the epidemic of sexual violence in the Democratic
Republic of Congo. Maybe you will find yourself volunteering at an abuse
hotline across town and offering comfort to someone who has no one else to talk to. See what happens if you act as if you can
promote LGBT rights in countries where being gay is still considered a crime. Maybe you will take
it upon yourself to convince a
grandparent or a parent why nobody should
be denied the right to marry the person they love. (cheering) I bet if you ask President
Gutmann, Provost Price, Chairman Cohen, your
professors, your parents, or the mind-blowing other
honorary degree recipients here today, they would say that they had done a
bit of acting as if, in their esteemed careers. Acting as if was how I got
started professionally. In the 1990s I was deeply moved by images of mass atrocities coming out of the
Former Yugoslavia, and I decided to try to help. But what could I,
a history major, do what was useful? I decided, ridiculously
in retrospect, that my experience
covering women’s volleyball for my college
newspaper was sufficient for me to at least try to
become a war correspondent. When I got over to the region, I’d never before
interviewed refugees or peacekeepers,
or anybody really, besides athletes, but
I moved to the Balkans and began observing the
journalists around me who seemed to know
what they were doing, and I did my best to copy them, all the while trying
to look professional. With each story I reported, this became less of an
act and more of a reality. There is always a learning curve when one starts something new. In August 2013, I started my job as US Ambassador to
the United Nations. Almost immediately,
I found myself in some extremely tough,
high-wire negotiations with Russia, aimed at removing
chemical weapons from Syria, a crucial task,
given the willingness of the monstrous Assad regime to use such weapons
on its own people. One Sunday morning, during
the most grueling stretch of the negotiations,
I take my son Declan to grab breakfast at a diner. He is four-years-old
at the time, and I haven’t been able
to hang much with him because of these
round-the-clock negotiations. And of course, that’s the moment President Obama decides to
call me on my cell phone. Why do bosses always do that? The President stresses the
importance of these negotiations and he urges me to
find the sweet spot in my negotiating posture. “Don’t overshoot the
runway,” he says, “but don’t undershoot
the runway either.” I say, “Understood,
Mr President. “I’ve got this.” (laughter) But I’ve been in the job
for less than a month. And in my head I’m thinking, “Where the hell is the runway?” (laughter) But I found it. (cheering) And I’m here to
tell you, act as if, and you really
will figure it out. My second recommendation
if you want to make change is for you to make sure you know something
about something. The beauty of this, is it is completely within your control. You can start by
reading more than 140 character-long publications. (laughter) By those who have thought
about a problem before you. You can track down experts, and pepper them with questions, and then read and
learn some more. If you’re interested
in international issues you can learn a
language, another one, on top of the one you
already learned here, and when you believe
you know something, and may even have
arrived at a theory of how change might come, get out to the place where
the problem actually lives. Go to the field, whatever or wherever
that field may be. The field is where
tidy problems get messy and where you will have occasion to go deep, not wide. Take my move to the
Balkans back in the day. This seemed like an
exceedingly narrow early career choice. I signed up for a class
in Serbo-Croatian, a language with limited reach, even today in my current job. I read dense history
books on the region, a part of the world
that is said to have so much history it
doesn’t need a future, and I moved to report on wars that seemed far away
to most Americans. Even though I focused on an extremely narrow
slice of the planet, by going deep I got
up-close exposure to issues that had application well beyond the Balkans. Issues that all
these years later are my daily bread in
working on challenges all around the world. Ethnic identity,
international justice, humanitarian assistance,
refugee returns, peacekeeping, how
to reform the UN. One’s theory of change
quickly gets challenged though when you’re out
in the real world. I’ll give you one example. Last fall, when
the Ebola outbreak was exploding in West Africa, and dire projections
estimated that more than a million
people could be infected with a few months,
public health experts identified burial rituals as a major form of transmission. That’s because local custom is for family members
to wash and bury the body of the deceased, a fatal practice when
dealing with Ebola victims, whose bodies can
transmit the virus for several days after death. So the international
community’s solution was to get the word out on
this acute health hazard and dramatically scale up the number of safe burial teams. The trouble was, even
having done that, the phones at the safe
burial call centers didn’t really ring, and people continued to bathe
and bury their loved ones. Ebola just kept spreading. Finally though, by getting
out to the hot-spots, and immersing themselves
in the data and the culture and by listening,
epidemiologists and aid workers were able to figure out why
people were not calling. It turned out
families of victims saw handing over the bodies
to these burial teams as a breach of faith. That’s the kind of
insight one could not get in a UN briefing
thousands of miles away. One could only get
it by bumping up against the problem
in the real world. Armed with this understanding, a Grand Imam in Guinea went on the radio to tell people that safe burials were
consistent with Islam, and urged imams of
the 12,000 mosques across the country to
disseminate the same message. It was a series of adaptive
solutions like this one that helped bend the deadly
curve of the Ebola outbreak and will soon help end it. (applause) Every individual needs
other individuals by their side if they are to
make a lasting difference. My third recommendation, if you want to serve, along with acting as if, and knowing something
about something, is that you must persuade
people to join you in your efforts, and
to persuade people, you have to meet
people where they are. It’s what Atticus Finch meant when he told Scout, “You never really
understand a person “until you climb in his
skin and walk around in it.” All advocacy is at its core an exercise in empathy. I’m not talking about persuasion
for persuasion’s sake, I’m talking about
building the coalitions that you need to
serve effectively. Few were as skilled at this as Penn’s founder. In October 1776, the
70-year-old Franklin was dispatched to Paris, to try to win French support
for the American Revolution. He immediately set about learning France’s
different constituencies and what mattered
to each of them. For France’s foreign minister, who saw the world in zero-sum
terms, realist terms, Franklin drafted a memo, arguing how French
support for America would greatly weaken
France’s arch rival, Britain. When it came to appealing
to the French public, Franklin played up
the romantic ideal of America’s struggle for
liberty against tyranny. He also penned anonymous satires lampooning his British
enemies in the press, and to win over the elite, he never passed up an invitation to a swank dinner
party or salon, leading another American
diplomat to complain that Franklin was, “More devoted to pleasure “than would become even a
young man in his station.” But the diplomatic
missed the point. Franklin was working the room. When he discovered, after
wearing a fur hat one day, that the French saw it as a sign of his American,
down-to-earth authenticity, Franklin took to wearing it whenever he went out in public. So what if the hat was Canadian? (laughter) Franklin was working his brand. The point is not that
Franklin was cynical. He was a true
believer in the idea of American
independence, and he made extraordinary sacrifices
in fighting for it. Indeed, when he was in Paris, pounding the pavement, his own city of
Philadelphia was sacked, his home looted, and the
university he founded, your university,
turned into a barracks for occupying British troops. The point is that Franklin knew that to win over the French, he had to meet them
where they were. If he had not succeeded,
and he succeeded gloriously, winning the support of each key French
constituency he targeted, America may well have
never won its independence, and Penn might still
be a British barracks. Wouldn’t that be awkward? One factor behind
Franklin’s success was simply that he was in Paris. In Franklin, the French saw
the living, breathing emodiment of a revolution that otherwise might have seemed faraway
and insignificant. That brings me to my
final recommendation. Humanize your cause. Don’t take for granted that
the worthiness of your cause will win you allies. Bring it down to a scale
that people can relate to. This is particularly
challenging in times like ours in which we are bombarded
with an endless stream of atrocities, injustices
and inequalities, flashing across the
big and small screens we live in front
of, and coming at us through internet pages that
refresh every few seconds with just the latest bad news. It is no wonder our nerve
endings are battered and our empathy
muscles so worn out. I face this challenge
every day in my job at the United Nations. Even at the UN Security Council, whose job it is to
help resolve conflicts, you can often sense
the detachment with which diplomats
read off their statements and recycle the same
empty condemnations, with no expectations of changing
the facts on the ground. Last fall, President Obama
managed to help humanize the Ebola crisis with
a simple gesture. After a Liberian
man, Thomas Duncan, arrived in the United States
with the first case of Ebola, some people in our country
allowed their fears to get the better of them. Some called for our
government to seal the borders and even to prevent
desperately-needed American nurses and doctors from volunteering for
the relief effort, though the experts were adamant that the epidemic had to
be beaten at its source. Some leaders, including several
not all that far from here, imposed policies that
called for quarantining everyone who had
returned from the region. It was at the peak
of that hysteria, which you all remember well, that President Obama
invited to the White House Nina Pham, the Dallas nurse who’d been infected
caring for Mr Duncan and who had just recovered. As Miss Pham stood
in the Oval Office free of the disease
but stigmatized, as all Ebola survivors were, as a potential carrier, the President did
something very simple. He gave her a hug. It wasn’t only Americans
who saw that embrace. It was the hug heard
around the world. When at the President’s request, I traveled to the
Ebola-affected countries a week later, people were still marveling about that hug. Victims who had beaten the virus but been cast out by
terrified communities felt that America
had hugged them too. Those who feared, feared less. Part of humanizing means not
only humanizing the bad news but humanizing those who bring
light to the dark places, people who against all odds are building that human
dignity right back up, no matter the obstacles. Few groups on today’s planet are more sinister
than Boko Haram, the violent
extremists in Nigeria, who have kidnapped and enslaved thousands of women and girls, and forced a child
as young as seven to blow herself up in
a crowded marketplace. In February 2014, Boko Haram raided the northern
Nigerian village of Izghe, killing more than 100 people and abducting scores more, including 16-year-old
Binta Ibrahim and her sisters. They were taken to a
neighboring village, where Binta recognized
three child captives from her village, a
two-year-old named Matthew, and two four-year-olds,
Elijah and Maryam. Separated from their parents, they had no one to
look after them, so Binta, who mind
you, was just 16, started to take care of them. One day, the village
was hit by an air raid, and the Boko Haram
fighters fled for cover. Binta’s sisters decided
to make a run for it, urging Binta to come with them, but Binta said, “I had
these three kids to care for “and I couldn’t abandon them.” She stayed. Not long after, Boko
Haram forced the captives to march to a hideout
in the forest, but the three kids
were so malnourished that they couldn’t walk, so Binta strapped
Matthew and Elijah to her back, and wrapped
Maryam around her waist, and carrying three
children, she began to walk. She trekked for an
entire day like that, and then a night,
and then another day and another night. She said, “There was
nothing to do but rest “when I couldn’t
take another step, “and then pressed ahead
when I had recovered.” After two days, they
finally arrived. She saved those kids’ lives. A few weeks ago, Binta, Matthew, Elijah and Maryam were rescued, along with more than
700 other captives. When a journalist
caught up with them in a refugee camp, where Binta continued to look
after these kids, the reporter asked her
why she risked her life for those three children. Binta responded, “I love
them as if they are my own,” pulling his fists into
her chest, for emphasis. Binta is a Muslim. The three kids she
saved are Christian. Tell me a more
powerful rejection of Boko Haram’s
perversion of Islam than Binta’s love
for those kids. (applause) And you can find the sources
of light close to home too. Around 15 years ago, professors
from Penn’s Medical School noticed a growing number of
Latin American immigrants showing up at the emergency room with chronic
illnesses or ailments that could have been prevented. Most were undocumented,
uninsured, and unable to
communicate in English. They feared seeking medical help could get them deported. So the Penn doctors
decided to start a program to help this
vulnerable community, not just treating
the emergencies, but the root causes of
their health issues. They called it Puentes de Salud. “Bridges of health.” (applause) And they began holding
walk-in clinics a few nights a week, sometimes in the
back of a gas station or a church basement. Puentes relied on
a consistent stream of student volunteers from Penn, and community members
who they trained as promotoras, or
community nurses. As the undocumented population
in South Philadelphia grew from around 6,000 people when the program started to some 30,000 people
today, Puentes grew too. Med students volunteered
in the clinics, students from the Graduate
School of Education helped design curriculums, Wharton students gave
financial literacy workshops, and students from other
schools got involved too. One of them was Daphne Owen. In 2009, Daphne was
helping pay her way through Bryn Mawr
College by working at a local dive bar,
where she made friends with a group of
Mexican dishwashers. They told her about
how their kids were falling behind in school because they struggled
with English. So Daphne did some Googling, and found her way to Puentes, where she eventually
worked with staff to create an after-school
program for the kids of Spanish-speaking immigrants. Today, that program is
tutoring and mentoring hundreds of kids in
South Philadelphia, and today Dr Daphne
Owen is graduating from Penn Medical School. (applause) Amidst all the
darkness of the world, it can be easy to lose sight
of all the bright spots, but look around you. They are all around you. Consider this. From 1990 to 2010,
the number of people living in extreme
poverty in the world, people who live on less
than a dollar a day, fell by 700 million people. At my last graduation
from law school, in 1999, the idea
of an American state legalizing civil
unions for LGBT persons wasn’t even on the radar. Indeed, that year, 36
states had passed statutes or constitutional amendments banning marriage for
same-sex couples. Today, the same
number of states, 36, have legalized marriage
for same-sex couples. (applause) And if there is justice,
the Supreme Court will soon affirm marriage
for same-sex couples as a constitutional right
across this great land. (applause) Class of 2015, you are
going out into a world of profound challenges,
it goes without saying. But the Binta Ibrahims and
the Puentes of the world show us that whether in Nigeria or in Philadelphia,
the path to solving these big problems begins
with small solutions. And it starts with individuals. Individuals like you. You can see that in the teenager who straps three
kids onto her back and her waist and walks
for two days straight. You can see it in the doctors who notice new neighbors
living in the shadows and extend a hand. Penn grads, you
have the inclination and the ability to
change your communities and to change your
slice of the world. Act as if, know something
about something, bring others along, and
humanize your cause. Franklin was right when he said, “The purpose of the education “you have all just received “is not to serve yourself, “but to serve your community,
your nation, your world.” This has been Penn’s
mission from its conception. It must continue
to be your mission from this day forth. Best of luck, Class of 2015. Go at it. (applause) – Degrees in course
will now be conferred. Presentations will
be made by the deans. Candidates are
requested to stand when presented by the dean, and to take your seats after your degrees have been
conferred by the President. – [Dean] On behalf of the
School of Arts and Sciences, I ask the candidates for
the following degrees to rise as I call them. Masters of Science and
Applied Geosciences. Masters of Applied
Positive Psychology. Master of Environmental Studies. Master of Liberal Arts. Master of Medical Physics. Masters of Science and
Organizational Dynamics. Masters of Philosophy. Masters of Public
Administration. Associate in Arts. Bachelor of Fine Arts. And last, but
certainly not least, candidates for the
Bachelor of Arts in the College of
Arts and Sciences and the College of Liberal
and Professional Studies. (loud cheering) – [Amy] Graduates. – [Dean] Madam President,
before you stand the recipients of the finest liberal arts
education in the land, armed with their outstanding
analytic and creative skills, they are ready to lead the world
and make it a better place. (cheering and applause) – Your ability, coupled with
your inclination to do good make you fitting heirs of our
founder, Benjamin Franklin, in Franklin’s university. With the authority vested
in me by the trustees, I confer upon you the degrees for which you have been
recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all
the rights, privileges and responsibilities which
pertain to those degrees in testimony whereof
you will receive the Diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering and applause) Before you begin, Dean Glandt, I have a matter of
Presidential Privilege here. All the members of the
Engineering School, please stand. (cheering) Dean Glandt. In our time together,
you and I have sent thousands of the very
best engineering graduates out into the world. The best are yet
to come right here, but they have been the best, because they’ve had the best. The best faculty,
the best facilities, and most of all, the
very best of deans. (cheering) For 17 years, Dean Glandt has led our
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
to greatness. You are a dean extraordinaire, and your legacy will
long be celebrated by a grateful university. Everyone, please
join me in cheering the dean extraordinaire of
our School of Engineering, Eduardo Glandt. (cheering) And now you may
proceed, Eduardo. – It’s my duty to
ask the candidates in the School of Engineering
and Applied Science for the degrees of
Bachelor of Arts, of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science
and Engineering, Master of Science
and Engineering, Masters in Computer and
Information Technology, Master of Biotechnology, Master of Computer Graphics
and Game Technology, and Master of Integrated
Product design to stand, although you
are standing already. (laughter) Madam President, these are
Penn’s problem solvers. These are Penn’s innovators. Benjamin Franklin is smiling now as I give you the
engineering Class of 2015. (cheering and applause) – Graduates. May you use your Penn
Engineering Education to better all of our lives by making possible the
things we don’t yet know that we can’t live without. With the authority vested
in me by the trustees, I confer upon you the degrees for which you have been
recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilties which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the Diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering) – I guess I drew the
very shortest straw. Eduardo, you’re a rock
star. Congratulations. Would the students from the
Wharton School please stand? (cheering) Madam President, I’ve only been here one year, but I can tell you
that these students blow me away with
what they’ve achieved while they’re at the university. And I have no doubt
what you’re going to do after you leave
will be even better. They’re poised to
change the world. Can I please present to you the graduates with the Bachelor
of Science in Economics and Masters of
Business Administration from the Wharton School. (cheering and applause) Graduates, prosperity,
peace and plenty. May you help all people
achieve all three. And with the
authority vested in me by the trustees, I confer
upon you the degrees for which you have
been recommended by your faculty, admitting
you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering) – Will candidates
for the degrees of Bachelor in
Science and Nursing, and Masters of Science
and Nursing please rise? (cheering) President Gutmann, before
you stand men and women who are prepared to
lead the transformation of health and healthcare through practice excellence,
impactful science and by championing
health equity, both locally and globally. It is with great pride
that I present to you these excellent candidates from the number one School
of Nursing in the country. (cheering and applause) – [Amy] Graduates. Your Penn nursing education qualifies you to be the
most caring and capable nursing leaders in the world. May you use these skills
to bestow health and hope to all, through every
stage of life’s journey, and with the
authority vested in me by the trustees
I confer upon you the degrees for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering and applause) – I ask the candiates of the Raymond and Ruth
Perelman School of Medicine, for the degrees of
Doctor of Medicine, Master of Bioethics, Master of Public Health, Master of Science and
Clinical Epidemiology, Master of Sciences and
Translational Research, Master of Sciences and
Health Policy Research, to please rise. (applause) Madam President, our school was
the first school of medicine in the United States,
founded in 1765. This is our 250th anniversary. (applause) I am pleased to report that we
are not only the first school but still the best
school in the world. (cheering) Our candidates combine science, humanity and professionalism in the service of
their fellow citizens. I am pleased to present
to present the candidates from the Raymond and Ruth
Perelman School of Medicine. – Graduates. May your hands heal, may your minds find new ways to cure and to care,
and may your hearts forever bring compassion
and kindness to bear. With the authority vested
in me by the trustees, I confer upon you the great
future healers of the world, the degrees for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof,
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering and applause) – Would the candidates
for the degrees of Master of Comparative Law, Master of Law, Juris Doctor, and Doctor of Science
of Law please stand. (cheering) Madam President,
I present to you the young men and
women who will follow in the footstep
of Samantha Power, Lee Bollinger and Cass Sunstein in changing our world through
reform of our legal systems. – [Amy] Graduates. Our university motto
wisely proclaims that laws without
morals are useless. I know you will do well remembering the highest calling of the legal
profession, to do good. We wish you well, by
doing good in the world, and with the
authority vested in me by the trustees,
I confer upon you the degrees for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Thank you and congratulations. (cheering and applause) – Madam President, on behalf
of the great School of Design, and with great
confidence in their skill and sense of purpose, I
ask the 251 candidates for the following
degrees to rise. Master of Architecture. Master of City and
Regional Planning. Master of Fine Arts. Master of Science in
Historic Preservation. Master of Landscape
Architecture, and Master of Spatial Analytics. Madam President, with
passion and purpose, they will bring to
communities around the world value-creating design, transformative and
safe infrastructure, a sense of beauty, and a resilient and
more equitable future. – [Amy] Graduates. (applause) Graduates, you will
cultivate beauty, you will create community, and you will build harmony. May you always be inspired by the heritage of
this beautiful campus and the education
you have earned here. So, with the
authority vested in me by the trustees,
I confer upon you the degrees for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (applause) – Would the candidates
from the Dental School for the degree of Doctor
of Dental Medicine, the Doctor of Science
and Dentistry, the first time we’ve
actually given it this year, and the Masters in
Science in Oral Biology please be upstanding. Madam President, not
only is this a group of very intelligent,
very skillful, dentists, but they’re also
extremely caring, and they will be the
leaders of dentistry going forward into the future. – [Amy] Graduates, oral health is fundamental to good health. I needn’t tell you that, but the world needs you. May your Penn education and
the Penn spirit of service enable you to bring
smiles of health to patients around the world. With the authority vested
in me by the trustees I confer upon you the degrees for which you have been
recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all
the rights, privileges and responsibilities which
pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof,
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (cheering and applause) – Will the candidates from the School of
Veterinary Medicine for the degree of Veterinariae
Medicinae Doctoris please stand. (cheering) Madam President,
as I do not explain for the 10th straight year, what those special balloons are, I am greatly honored
to present to you the graduates of the
only health profession whose love and passion
for science and healing extends beyond our fellow man to our other fellow creatures and the complex living
environment that
we all depend on. In the end, there is
truly only one health. – [Amy] Graduates. All creatures great and small are in your care. Your vigilance and diligence keep us safe, and the skills
you have acquired here will sustain our help
mates and friends. Our gratitude and thanks follow. With the authority vested in me by the trustees,
I confer upon you the degree for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof,
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (applause) – Will the candidates from the
Graduate School of Education which is entering
its second century for the degrees of Master
of Science of Education, Master of Philosophy
of Education, and Doctor of
Education, please rise. (applause) Madam President, I’m
pleased to present to you the candidates of the
Graduate School of Education, who will go on to see the
possibility in every child, the genius in every person, and who will continue
through education to bend the arc of the moral
universe towards justice. (applause) – Graduates. Through education, all
things are possible. By your good work, the
possibilities will multiply, for all people everywhere
to pursue their dreams. With the authority vested in me by the trustees,
I confer upon you the degrees for
which you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof,
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (applause) – Will the candidates for the School of Social
Policy and Practice for the degrees of
Master of Social Work, Master of Science and
Nonprofit Leadership, Master of Science
and Social Policy and Doctor of Social
Work please stand? (applause) Madam President, given their
unapologetic investment and commitment to
social justice, their willingness to put
knowledge and service to the public good,
I present to you the candidates for the School
of Social Policy and Practice. – [Amy] Graduates,
you know the measure of our greatness is
neither in wealth, nor in arms, but in how we treat the most vulnerable among us. May justice light your path, and equity await, for all, at the end of your journey. With the degrees vested
in me by the trustees I confer upon you the degrees, with the “authority”
vested in me. There are also degrees there. I confer upon you the degrees for which you have been
recommended by your faculty, admitting you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations. (applause) – President Gutmann,
founded in 1959, the Annenberg School is ranked as the number one communication
program in the nation. (applause) Our graduates go on to
leadership positions, into teaching,
research and practice of media and communication
across the globe. As you know, as a
PhD-only graduate program I have no Masters of
Communication students to present to you today. In lieu of that,
however, I would like our undergraduate
Majors of Communication, who received their
BAs a little while ago from the School of
Arts and Sciences, and our Masters of Arts and our PhD students, who will momentarily
receive their degrees from the graduate faculty to please rise, and ask
you and the Penn community to congratulate them
all for jobs well done. Congratulations. (applause) – [Dean] Will the
candidates for the degrees of Master of Art, Master of Science, and Doctor of
Philosophy please stand? (applause) Madam President, on behalf of the Graduate Council
of the Faculties of the University
of Pennsylvania, representing graduate programs
across the university, I’m pleased to present to you this group of leaders
who will charge forward in research, scholarship
and innovation. – [Amy] Graduates,
the road was long, the work was hard,
but you have achieved the pinnacle of
academic achievement. I applaud you for your
extraordinary scholarship within your field of study, and with pleasure I greet you as fellow Doctors of Philosophy. Congratulations. (applause) With the authority vested in me by the trustees,
I confer upon you the degrees for which
you have been recommended by your faculty, admitting
you to all the rights, privileges and responsibilities which pertain to those degrees, in testimony whereof
you will receive the diploma of the
University of Pennsylvania. Congratulations,
Doctors of Philosophy. (applause) So, graduates, you have arrived. I want to ask all of
today’s graduates, all of you to stand, so that we can show
our appreciation for what you together
have accomplished. Congratulations. (cheering and applause) You may be seated
for a few minutes. We have reached the
close of our ceremonies, and in one respect,
we have arrived at the most important
part, the closing credits. Permit me just a
few more moments, and join with me in recognizing all those whose
efforts and sacrifices made this day of
celebration possible. Graduates, join me in
applauding the ultimate heroes, your parents. (applause) And let us thank those very souls of
patience and forbearance, the spouses and partners of our graduate and
professional students. (applause) Great public moments like these call on us to salute
our unsung heroes, the truly remarkable
men and women who help run this
great university with extraordinary care
and exceptional skill each and every day,
12 months of the year. Penn’s talented and
dedicated staff. (cheering and applause) Graduates, you’ve
seen first-hand that our incredible faculty are among the finest minds
and mentors in the world. Please join me in
applauding the Penn Faculty for the honor they bring
to their professions, the excellence
they foster at Penn and the difference
that they’ve made in all of our lives. Thank you so very, very much. (applause) And let us also applaud members of the Classes
of 1990 and 1965 here with us today celebrating their 25th and 50th reunions. (applause)
As they so freely attest, there’s no better color
combination in the world than red and blue. And finally, I’m privileged
to officially welcome our Honorary Degree recipients and all the members of
the Class of 19, of 2015, we are in a new millennium, I’m officially
want to welcome you into the amazing
community of Penn Alumni. (applause) This has been a wonderful and
memorable occasion for us all, and as a final favor, I ask
that you please remain in place until the academic procession and the reunion classes
have left the field, exit through the southwest gate, which is to the left
of Weightman Hall. Please rise now
for the dismissal, offered by our
University Chaplain, Reverend Chaz Howard, and after the dismissal, after the dismissal, I ask everyone to join in
singing the Red and Blue, to be led by the Penn Glee Club. They will lead us in song, so our song can be
heard at City Hall and way beyond. – As you leave this place, many of you will walk
back to College Green, where to your right you’ll see that most unique
piece of public art, the Split Button. Often one will find
children climbing and sliding and
playing on the Button. Graduates, may you
always remember, like children, to cultivate joy, not letting your work, no
matter how great its import take time away from playing. May your vocational climbs
and even occasional falls all be undergirded
with happiness and joy. And never forget that something as small and insignificant
and as odd as a button can become an iconic
image on the campus of one of the world’s
finest universities. Graduates, always remember that it’s often the forgotten ones, those with enough
courage to be different, those who will walk
untraveled paths, who change the
landscape of a space. Look at the button and take in that its structure is
imperfect and broken. Cracked, but certainly
not shattered. Friends, may you grow to learn that there is beauty
in brokenness. May you leave this place knowing that you need not
achieve perfection in order to be mighty. And finally, as you
leave this place, remember what the
button is surrounded by. The peace symbol to its right, and the LOVE statue, just up the gentle
incline of Locust Walk. May you also have
peace and love with you all of your days. Amen, and congratulations, Class of 2015. (applause) (cheering and applause) (band music)

Leave a Reply

(*) Required, Your email will not be published