While comedian Larry Wilmore addressed Harvard College seniors Wednesday afternoon, graduating students at Schools across the University heard from their own special guests on Class Day.
“I knew at a very young age that my gift was to communicate through movement. I found freedom in discipline and focus, training tirelessly day and night, drilling my body in every aspect of the craft. More importantly, I trained my mind to be still, to silence the whispers of self-doubt. Dance was my safe place, my inevitable future, and my undeniable path.”
— Michelle Yeoh, whose performance in the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once” won her an Academy Award for Best Actress, the first Asian woman to win.
“The fact of the matter is that today’s world leaders have thus far failed miserably by putting selfish national interests ahead of urgent global needs. They have failed to see the big picture — that the world will sink or swim together — or they have decided to play a dangerous game of chicken — demanding that others do more to curb CO2 emissions. They have utterly failed to grasp that the urgency is too great or that the problem is too big to let others deal with it.”
— Ban Ki-moon, M.C./M.P.A. ’84, former U.N. secretary general, 2007 to 2016.
Harvard Graduate School of Education
“You, more than anybody I can think of, have at your disposal the capacity to shape the future. By embracing education, you’re clutching the lifeline to a sane and sensible future for our children. It may well be that we will endure periods of hostility to the notion of education or antipathy toward everything we value as educators. But time will demonstrate that educators play a pivotal role in what the world can be in the future.”
— Ruth Simmons, distinguished leader in U.S. higher education, senior adviser to the president of Harvard University, on engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)
Harvard Business School
“Our legacy resides somewhere between the wealth that you create and the lives you impact. Your privilege will give you a choice. Be ever mindful that in the fight to preserve our republic and to save our climate there can be no spectators.”
— Raymond J. McGuire, J.D./M.B.A. ’84, president of Lazard, former vice chairman of Citigroup
— Compiled by Christina Pazzanese