A trio of students will share experiences, perspectives, and a little wisdom with 32,000 classmates, University officials, invited guests, family, and friends on Commencement morning, delivering traditional Latin, English, and Graduate English addresses.
Harvard College seniors Kabir Gandhi from Dunster House, Genesis De Los Santos from Eliot House, and Lucila Takjerad, a master of public administration student at the Harvard Kennedy School, were selected as speakers on Commencement Day, which is among the University’s highest student honors.
The three were selected after a two-month competition that kicked off with a workshop in early March and wrapped up when the winners were selected on April 23. On May 30, in addresses that traditionally combine poignant reflection, pointed observation, and a bit of humor, they will reflect on their careers here, the places from which they came, and where they and classmates might be going.
Kabir Gandhi — Latin Salutatory
As an applied math concentrator, Gandhi might seem an unusual choice to deliver a speech in Latin to thousands. But to him, that’s kind of the point of getting a liberal education in a place like Harvard.
“I could go from reading Virgil with experts like [Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature] Richard Tarrant to thinking about how to model temperature regulation of the atmosphere,” Gandhi said. “That kind of balance, I think, is what makes liberal arts really special.”
Gandhi will draw on that diverse background in his address, “A Library and a Garden,” which refers to a quotation by the Roman orator and statesman Cicero: “If you have a garden along with a library, you have everything you need.”