SPEAKER 1: Ladies and gentlemen, the first of the academic procession has arrived. Leading the procession is the University Marshal Professor Charles Walcott. Following the University Marshal is the banner for the class of 2016. The class banner bearers are Victor Shimira Biguma and Daniela Cardenas, class officers.
First to arrive behind the class banner are the Ph.D. candidates of the graduate school. The symbol banner bearer is Giyoung Park. Candidates are led by Senior Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School Barbara A. Knuth and faculty marshalls, professor Nerissa Russell, and professor Yrju Grolin. The Ph.D. banner bearers are [? Otaki ?] Kingi and Timothy Burke Lannin. The degree marshals are Paula Vogel and Christine Yao.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the Ph.D. Degree candidates from the graduate school. Next are the master degree candidates of the graduate school. The master banner bearers Alyssa Eardley Evans and Rachel Anna Lemcke. The degree marshals are Maria Jose Carreras and Camarra and Jun Rong Jeffrey Neo.
For your information, the degree candidates from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and degree candidates from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City participated in separate commencement ceremonies in early May.
Ladies and gentleman, once again, the master degree candidates from the graduate school. Next are the candidates from the College of Veterinary Medicine, led by Dean Lorin Warnick and college banner bearers Erica Ashley Militana and Ariel Nicole Schlag. The degree marshals are Pamela Marie Rooney and Gretchen Marie VanDeventer. The symbol banner bearer is Phil Stanley Medlin.
The law school candidates are led by Dean Eduardo M. Penalver and college banner bearers Maria Elin Nanna Bergenhem and Amelia K. Murphy. Degree marshals are Rudolph Strahilov the Efremov and Zellnor Myrie. The symbol banner bearer is Annie O'Toole.
Next, MBA degree candidates from the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management are led into the stadium by Dean Soumitra Dutta. The college banner bearers are Lynn Tswei Han and Brett Truitt. The degree marshals are David Sheridan Keating and Diana Narvaez. The symbol banner bearer is Harsh Govind.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again the MBA degree candidates from the Johnson Graduate School of Management.
Now entering the stadium are the first of the college degree candidates. The senior class Council banner is being carried by Stefanie Allman and Justine Belinda Brennan. The class marshals are Emily Catherine Decicco and Jonathan Lowry, also members of the Senior Class Council.
The first undergraduate group is the School of Industrial and Labor Relations, led by Dean Kevin Hallock. The college banner bearers are Juliana Rose Batista and Matthew Andrew Battaglia. Degree marshals are Esther Jiang and Wyatt James Nelson. The symbol banner bearer is Scott Thomas Seidenberger.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the degree candidates from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Ladies and gentlemen, the College of Architecture Art and Planning is led into the stadium by Dean Kent Kleinman and college banner bearers Roya Azadeh Sabri and David Toretsky. Representing the three degree programs are Michael Dennis Raspuzzi, Max Eli Vanatta, Xinyi Liu, Li Zhu, Peter Dean Duba, and Alexa Paige Singer. The symbol banner bearer is a Melody Rose Stein.
Next, the School of Hotel Administration is led by Dean Michael Johnson and college banner bearers Ryan Christopher Helkowski and Macarena Morena Crespo. Degree marshals are Fredric Lek Hang Ho and Megan Anne Trillo. The simple banner bearer is Nicholas Garlow Nelson.
Ladies and gentleman, once again the degree candidates from the School of Hotel Administration.
Now entering the stadium are the degree candidates from the College of Human Ecology led by Dean Alan Mathios and college banner bearers Hao Huang, Miya Okado. Degree marshals are Jamie Elaine Blum and Xun Yang Hu. The symbol banner bearer is Wei-Feng Erin Lee.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the degree candidates from the College of Human Ecology.
The College of Engineering is led by Dean Lance R. Collins and college banner bearers Sarah Jane Sinclair and Jia Ying Carolyn Soo. The degree marshals are Tanvi Mayank Mehta and Michael John Statt. The symbol banner bearer is Gulnar Zaib Mirza.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the degree candidates from the College of Engineering.
Ladies and gentlemen, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is now led into the stadium by Dean Katherine J. Boor and college banner bearers Ricky Berkenfeld and Minhua Yan. Degree marshals are Benjamin mark Van Doren and Victor Zhao. The symbol banner bearer is Hujie Feng.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again, the degree candidates from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
The degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences are led by Dean Gretchen Ritter and college banner bearers Andy Alfonso and Zitong Wang. Degree marshals are Ashin Kiran Shah and Linda Wang. The symbol banner bearer is Tianwang Liu.
Ladies and gentlemen, you may have noticed a little rain. Cornell believed it was a little too warm, and we should have a refresher. However, I am told that this cloud will pass shortly.
Ladies and gentlemen, once again the wet but wonderful degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Will all candidates for degrees please stand at this time. Well done, thank you. Now entering the stadium is the administrative staff of the university, led by two faculty marshals Professor Jintu Fan and Professor David Gries.
The members of the faculty are now entering the stadium. They are led by the Dean of the University Faculty Charles Van Loan. The faculty marshals are Professor Steve Carvell, Professor John Hermanson, Professor Lisa Nishii, and Professor Drew Noden.
Following the faculty marshals and now entering the stadium are this year's Steven H. Weiss Presidential Fellows. This prestigious award is given each year to distinguished scholars among the tenured faculty who have sustained a career of important contributions to undergraduate education, including effective and inspiring teaching of undergraduate students. This year's Weiss Fellows are Charles "Chip" Aquadro, Professor of Biological Sciences, Laura Harrington, Professor and Chair of the Department of Entomology, and Sean Nicholson, Professor in Policy Analysis and Management. Our Weiss Fellows are joined by their colleagues on the Cornell University faculty who are now entering the stadium.
Ladies and gentlemen, at this time we acknowledge and thank the Cornell University faculty. Next in the procession are members of the University's Board of Trustees. The trustees are led by Chairman Robert S. Harrison. The trustee marshals are Professor Fred Schneider and Professor Donald Viands.
University Marshal Charles Walcott will now escort the mace bearer Barbara Baird and Cornell University's Provost Michael I. Kotlikoff to their places on the platform.
PROFESSOR CHARLES WALCOTT: Provost Kotlikoff, for the 149th time, candidates for degrees from Cornell University have gathered for conferral of degrees, and to celebrate this commencement. Members of the Board of Trustees, the faculty, administrative staff, degree candidates, and guests are in their places. The assembly is hereby called to order.
Will you all please rise and join the Cornell University Glee Club and Chorus, accompanied by the Cornell University Wind Symphony, in singing "The Star-Spangled Banner?"
CHORUS: Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous, 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.
Oh say does that star-spangled banner yet wave? For the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
PROFESSOR CHARLES WALCOTT: Everyone, please be seated.
MICHAEL I. KOTLIKOFF: Chairman Harrison, members of the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, parents, family members, and friends of the graduates, including those who are watching remotely, and most of all members of the class of 2016 and candidates for advanced degrees, welcome to Cornell's 148th to commencement.
Let us begin with a moment of reflection for President Beth Garrett who passed away a few short months ago. A dynamic and inspiring leader and a wonderful friend, Beth was enormously proud to be a part of Cornell, and proud of every Cornell graduate. We remember and honor her today with an empty chair on the stage. And we also leave a chair open in the front row in memory of the students of the class of 2016 who are no longer with us. I ask for a moment of silence in memory of these Cornellians.
I would also like to take a moment to acknowledge the contributions of the many people who helped our students get here and stay here. I ask Cornell students, trustees, faculty, and staff to rise and thank our guests here in [INAUDIBLE] and back home who have contributed so much to the success of our graduates.
Thank you. In addressing you today, I am a double stand-in-- for Beth, and for our Interim President Hunter Rawlings who is being honored today at his alma mater Haverford College. I have neither Beth's stunning smile nor Hunter's commanding height. However, I am also fully aware that, as Gary Trudeau suggested, my simple task today is to ensure that you don't get your degrees until I've properly sedated you. Beyond that, my goal today is simply to convey to you the pride we have for all that you've accomplished, and to reflect on the Cornell experience, and how it has prepared you for what is commonly referred to as the real world.
Cornell is a special place. From its founding, it's been unique in its commitment to access, its emphasis on both discovery and application, and the value placed on the role our graduates play in society. An enormous breadth of learning and discovery occurs here-- from astrophysics to architecture, from computational biology to classic civilizations. It happens in ILR in CIS, in Engineering, and in the Arts College, in Cals, and in Human Ecology, in Architecture Art and Planning, in the Hotel School, and the Graduate School, in Johnson, at Cornell Tech and Weill Medical College, and in the Law School, oh yes, and in the Veterinary College.
However, in addition to the disciplinary education, the university experience itself-- the experience of leaving home and navigating a complex and diverse environment-- leaves an indelible and enduring impact on our students. The road to and from Ithaca is filled with many challenges, as is Ithaca itself-- from Thanksgiving to Mother's Day, freezing in the morning, freezing in the afternoon, and frozen at night.
Your interactions here-- educational, social, and professional-- with people from different backgrounds, nations, races, religions, and political persuasions-- have been an essential part of preparation for an interconnected world sorely in need of individuals who understand others. Universities do much more than prepare students for successful careers. They are a preparation for life.
At its best, the on campus experience prepares students to participate in what Alexis de Tocqueville called the great American experiment.
To be sure, that experiment was flawed. It excluded slaves, native peoples, and women. But its core message of equal opportunity remains our founding rationale and non-negotiable goal. In pursuit of the inclusive version of that great American experiment, Cornell nurtures citizens and leaders not only through a rigorous curriculum, but by advancing the ideal, acknowledging our imperfections, and by recognizing along with Dr. Martin Luther King that when we lose sight of morality, we end up with guided missiles and misguided men.
During your time here-- during your time here, I hope that you have used evidence, rational thought, conviction, courtesy, and civility to formulate, test, and advance your ideas. I hope you have learned to listen, as well as to lecture, to respectfully disagree, and to look for common ground.
I hope that as graduates of Cornell, the most unpretentious, democratic, and rigorous Ivy, you-- you've also gained a fuller sense of who you are, and how you can contribute to our great American experiment. This is close to what David Foster Wallace meant in his incomparable commencement speech when he said that the value of an education is as much about an awareness of yourself as it is about knowledge.
I hope that Cornell, a place that values people who think otherwise, has challenged you in this way, even if it means exposure to ideas that have made you uncomfortable, to situations that were unsettling, to people who look or think differently. For many, the first excursion from the safety and comfort of home is to the university, where our diverse society is immediately made manifest. This is a valuable and undervalued part of the university experience, where we learn to respect other points of view, and to find our own voices.
Cornell does not do a perfect job at this. Frankly, we can and must do better. As in our broader society, interactions of people of diverse backgrounds can be limited at large universities.
Today, however, the political climate only underscores the importance of renewing and reaffirming Cornell's any person legacy, our commitment to equal opportunity. In these troubled and troubling times, when voices of fragmentation and fear gain attention and support, universities are a critical counterweight, helping to renew and revitalize our commitment to the great American experiment by responding to ignorance and fear with facts, historical context, and rational argument, and, importantly, while engaging in dialogue and debate with attention, , respect and humility, confronting prejudice and unfounded assertions where appropriate.
Within the memory of some in this stadium today, when the country was under the sway of demagogues who ruined lives and tainted reputations, Robert Maynard Hutchens, President Emeritus of the University of Chicago, was asked by an angry donor whether professors at the university were still teaching communism. Hutchens replied, yes, and cancer in the medical college. The purpose of education, Hutchens emphasized, is not to reform students, or amuse them, or to make them expert technicians.
It is to unsettle their minds, widen their horizons, to inflame their intellects. To do this, we need to teach controversial subjects, not to win converts to a particular point of view, but to enlarge the scope of knowledge and promote critical thinking. This approach, of course, can be unsettling.
I have spoken to students who believe fervently that we cannot achieve a more just society until and unless we acknowledge that our great experiment has failed, and to others to whom this feels like indoctrination. I have spoken to individuals who are unhappy that disturbing and intolerant voices are allowed to be heard on campus, and with others who bemoan speech control by universities. We must find ways inside and outside of Cornell classrooms to continue to inflame, but also to be sensitive to appropriate public discourse. It is this more subtle lesson from Cornell that I hope sticks.
As you leave [INAUDIBLE] today, whether for a job, more education, military service, or to pursue another path, continue to widen your horizons and take a step or two outside of your comfort zone. Build on the diverse and respectful experience of Cornell. As Marie Curie said, now is the time to understand more so that we can fear less.
Continue to apply what you've learned in your life at Cornell. You've experienced first hand that it is not only possible, but also valuable and enriching, to live, work, collaborate, disagree, and debate in a diverse community. Imperceptibly, you've learned the power of reasoned argument carried out with civility to bring about real change. So graduates and parents, this may not be the best time to inform you that the value of a Cornell education is not merely, or even mostly, about its success in conferring immediately marketable skills, or in the short term return on investment, as measured in some university rankings.
This misses the more enduring and more valuable contributions of higher education. As Wallace put it, university education is the job of a lifetime. And it begins now.
The founders, or as Professor of History Emeritus Walter Lefebvre suggested, the founders of this nation and the founders of Cornell shared a common commitment, indeed a common passion-- a belief in the power of ideas to transform individual lives and improve human society. On this day of commencement as you celebrate with family and friends, savor the things that have made your time here memorable-- the chimes concerts, the dairy bar, Louie's lunch, move-in day, dump and run day, Dragon Day, and OK, Slope Day, and most of all the relationships with mentors and friends that will last a lifetime. Then seize the opportunity to lead a life of consequence and contribution.
Don't be afraid to take the advice of the playwright Samuel Beckett-- fail, try again, fail better. And each and every day, do all you can to light the way for your generation and generations to come. Class of 2016, candidates for advanced degrees, we're proud of you. We're going to miss you. But you'll always be part of Cornell. Congratulations.
PROFESSOR CHARLES WALCOTT: Due to the possibility of the weather changing shortly, we are going to confer all degrees at once. Would the degree marshals from the various colleges please come and stand in front of the platform, and the mace bearer? And will all the college degree candidates please rise at this time?
MICHAEL KOTLIKOFF: It is my privilege to recognize the candidates recommended by the deans and the faculties of the several schools and colleges for the appropriate college degrees.
By the authority invested in me by the trustees of Cornell University, I hereby confer upon each of you the college degree appropriate to your field of study with all the rights, privileges, honors, and responsibilities pertaining thereto.
PROFESSOR CHARLES WALCOTT: Will all degree marshals please come up on the stage to shake hands with Provost Kotlikoff?
Will the assembly please remain standing for the singing of the Alma Mater.
CHORUS: Far above Cayuga's waters, with its waves of blue, stands our noble Alma Mater, glorious to view. Litt the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell; hail to thee our Alma Mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!
Far above the busy humming of the bustling town, reared against the arch of heaven, looks she proudly down. Litt the chorus, speed it onward, loud her praises tell; Hail to thee, our Alma Mater! Hail, all hail, Cornell!
PROFESSOR CHARLES WALCOTT: This concludes the 148th Cornell University Commencement. We thank you for being with us, and congratulate our new graduates. Would you please remain standing during the recessional until the faculty have left the field? Thank you.
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Commencement procession and ceremony for Class of 2016 undergraduate and graduate students, Sunday, May 29, 2016 at Schoellkopf Stadium.