For many of Harvard’s midyear graduates, the idea that education takes place both inside and outside the classroom is more than a well-worn cliché — it’s lived experience. Whether they took time away from campus or achieved advanced standing to finish early, their journeys and the communities they created helped them discover their voices, take risks, and explore new opportunities.
Nearly 100 graduates gathered with their families, friends, and the Harvard community to celebrate their accomplishments at Friday’s Midyear Graduates Recognition Ceremony at the Knafel Center. Speakers included Rakesh Khurana, Danoff Dean of Harvard College; Cornell Brooks, Harvard Kennedy School professor of the practice of public leadership and social justice; Philip Lovejoy, associate vice president and executive director of the Harvard Alumni Association; and Zeynep Ertugay, a graduating concentrator in social studies.
In his remarks, Brooks encouraged graduates to look for role models and mentors among their families, colleagues, and peers; to love boldly; to lead bravely; and be willing, he urged, “to step out, step forth, step up, and declare what you stand for.”
Ashley LaLonde, a performing artist who concentrated in sociology with a secondary in Theater, Dance & Media, finds herself attending Commencement exactly four years from the day she was admitted to Harvard. Looking back on her unusual experience, running from tech rehearsals to all-nighters in Lamont Library and hopping on buses for performances, she said, “It feels very clear that this was the place I was supposed to be.”