I don’t mean to sound precious but please don’t waste your time on earth, but there is one exception. But I think it’s possible to meet this challenge. "Why would your mother want to be called a chairman, as though she needed the MAN part to validate her?" I argued that it would be better if that honor were based on achievement rather than gender, and he looked at me and said, dismissively, "You don’t know what you are talking about, you’re a small girl.". It was a complicated set of feelings, a weighty inner weather, that was bolstered by a woman who chose to see me, and to invoke the vocabulary of Love. And thank you for that wonderful welcome. Wellesley College Commencement Address - May 28, 1982. I was also a guest. I have admired Wellesley—its mission, its story, its successes—for a long time and I thank you very much for inviting me. It’s not about my discovering gender injustice because of course I had discovered years before then. If you are only giving and not taking, you'll know. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie addressed the class of 2015 at Wellesley’s 137th Commencement Exercises, 2015 Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching. I already knew that the world does not extend to women the many small courtesies that it extends to men. And so as you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in. My mother is 73 and she retired as the first female registrar of the University of Nigeria—which was quite a big deal at the time. She wanted the sign left exactly where it was. We can not always bend the world into the shapes we want but we can try, we can make a concerted and real and true effort. Watch it in full below— and read a full transcript here. The greatest challenge incumbent upon you is learning to love others in ways they may be incapable of loving themselves, and of trusting them—giving them the reason, the wish—to love you in kind. The years of preparation, of tedious study and exciting learning at least begin to make sense. Minister to the world in a way that can change it. It is my pleasure and my tremendous honor to address you as the graduating class of 2018. Recently a feminist organization kindly nominated me for an important prize in a country that will remain unnamed. Because there are already too many articles that tell women how to keep a man happy. Ephron graduated from Wellesley in 1962, where she studied political science and wrote for the student newspaper. Three weeks ago, he was kidnapped near his home in Nigeria. At her graduation from Wellesley College in 1969, Hillary Clinton was voted by her fellow students to be the college’s first-ever student speaker, and today, Wellesley has released audio of 21-year-old Hillary’s speech, the same speech that earned young Clinton a Life writeup.It really feels like she could have delivered the same speech yesterday. When I caught up, I was deeply ashamed. Soon after I became your dean, in your sophomore year, I was told that my responsibilities included giving a speech during commencement week. To get this prize, I was required to talk about how important a particular European feminist woman writer had been to me. Wellesley College Class of 2004~ I have to confess to all of you, Madame President, Board of Trustees, members of the faculty, relatives, friends, students. Because life is messy. https://www.c-span.org/.../?26321-1/wellesley-college-commencement-address Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s 1998 Wellesley College speech: ‘The Supreme Court: A Place for Women’ September 19, 2020 by Bob Brown Leave a Comment. Thank you for consenting to live with the vulnerability that comes with following your convictions. All the past meetings had of course been chaired by men, and somebody had forgotten to replace the CHAIRMAN with a new sign that said CHAIRPERSON. Tolerance is the bare minimum I can muster without getting disgusted and stomping away. categories: Commencement Address, Speeches. But now, because I am a parent, perhaps, I am striving for the courage and the skill to embody another manner of love. Think about what really matters to you. After all, Love is world-creating. But the point is that I tried. We were talking to threatening strangers on the phone, begging and negotiating for my father’s safety and we were not always sure if my father was alive. Deep down I knew that what I really wanted to do was to write stories. Not to let “rating,” “liking,” “following” and “sharing,” supersede your ability to envision, discern, imagine, empathize, interrogate and resist. Teach your students to see that vulnerability is a HUMAN rather than a FEMALE trait. Ignoring me, my dog somehow managed to shake her head and free herself of the leash. Valerie B. Jarrett delivered Wellesley's Commencement Address on May 31, 2013. There are other, larger examples of compassionate acts, but this small scene comes to mind for me as embodying a lot of what compassion means. And you, because you now have your beautiful Wellesley degree, have become privileged, no matter what your background. It’s a slight story on the surface, but underneath there’s the proverbial ocean. Thank you for that generous introduction, President Bottomly, or should I say KBot, as I understand you are affectionately called by your students? But it’s not simple, not sweetly pat, for in order to embrace Love, I must move past fear, past a fixation on my own claim to power or authority. 2018 Pinanski Prize for Excellence in Teaching, Jenny Olivia Johnson, associate professor of music, Paul MacDonald, associate professor of political science, Wesley Andres Waters, Diana Chapman Walsh Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Copyright © Trustees of Wellesley College   |   Wellesley College 106 Central Street – Wellesley, MA 02481 (781) 283-1000. pleasure and my tremendous honor to address you as the graduating class of 2018. My dog ran up to accost the other dog and its owner. She cautioned them against the degradation of civil rights and other political dangers. And thank you President Bottomly for that wonderful introduction. In this age of ‘parenting as guilt,’ please spread the guilt equally. Ruth M. Adams: [Ninth president of Wellesley College] In addition to inviting Senator Brooke to speak to them this morning, the Class of '69 has expressed a desire to speak to them and for them at this morning's commencement. What I value, and what I don’t. And I knew that men were not inherently bad or evil. But I did what I was supposed to do and I went into medical school. I imagined I’d urge you, as I urge myself, not to allow the market for products and services, apps and devices to delimit your terms of need, discernment, wonder and worth. I’ve marveled at the empathetic genius by which you are able to embrace, employ and devise new terms for a larger, more malleable sense of selfhood; at the moral questions you pause to formulate and ponder even in the face of all the many kinds of progress you have begun to drive. You belong to a remarkable generation. Such as strategically give in to certain arguments, especially when arguing with a non-female. Make fathers share in the glory of guilt. The world became large for me when romantic love became real, perhaps because I myself felt full with new capacities for thought and need and feeling. It was as though feminism was supposed to be an elite little cult, with esoteric rites of membership. If anything, it’s really just an ode to makeup. She called me yesterday to ask how the speech-writing was going and to tell me to remember to use a lot of lotion on my legs today so they would not look ashy. I was about 23, but people often told me I looked 12. Like many people concerned by the various urgencies characterizing our time, I struggle with worry even as I strive to be an agent of thoughtful change. My mother likes to tell a story of the first university meeting she chaired. And the world is such a gloriously multifaceted, diverse place that there are people in the world who will like you, the real you, as you are. I stayed in a former plantation that still sits on thousands of acres of beautiful un-redisturbed land. Audio excerpts of Hillary Clinton's 1969 student commencement address at Wellesley College have been released for the first time by the college. And thank you President Bottomly for that wonderful introduction. 25 February 2008 TO BE THE “other half” of the President to the United States holds an interesting amount of responsibility, influence, and confidence. Excerpts from the speech delivered by Maya Angelou to the class of 1982 at Wellesley College in Wellesley, Mass. And eyeliner. So I dug out this yellow—yellowish—headwrap instead. She related the story by Robert Fulghum about a young pastor, finding himself in charge of some very energetic children, hits upon the game called "Giants, Wizards, and Dwarfs." Speech Analysis by Kellyn Muller. Hire more women where there are few. I think that’s an important message, but it’s not as important as the underlying capacity that I believe animates all of the many strides your generation is already making, all of the manners of change and growth you’re already fighting to foster. Because I’m a poet, and because I believe poets are best when they are speaking through their poems, I want to close with a poem. When I was growing up in Nigeria I was expected, as every student who did well was expected, to become a doctor. Minister radically in a real, active, practical, get your hands dirty way. In the week prior, my husband and I had been pressured to withdraw our young sons from a private nursery school because of their classroom-behavior--behavior that would later (but not yet, not at the time of the walk I’m remembering) align us with the many other children and their families living with autism. I’ve marveled at the empathetic genius by which you are able to embrace, employ and devise new terms for a larger, more malleable sense of selfhood; at the moral questions you pause to formulate and ponder even in the face of all the many kinds of progress you have begun to drive. In all the many things you will go on to teach one another and the world, I want you to teach the world you are right now inheriting to love itself in a way it does not yet believe that it can. I could either stay and study something that was not right for me. Campaign and agitate for paid paternity leave everywhere in America. Good morning and thank you. Just as I asked myself after excerpts of my feminism speech were used in a song by a talented musician whom I think some of you might know. Because I am a poet, I first thought that I’d speak to you today about language. It would have been a lie to claim that she had any major influence on my thinking. Hillary Rodham's 1969 commencement address at Wellesley College did not stand out because of what she said. And I want to challenge you to take the feeling of love out of the realm of the private or intimate and allow it to drive the ways that you see and respond to strangers across all kinds of divides. My mother was about to get seated there when a clerk came over and made to remove the sign. A loud, unpleasant man. The clerk apologized and told her he would find the new sign, since she was not a chairman. Feminism should be an inclusive party. But it shouldn’t. From childhood. I am still not sleeping well, I still wake up many times at night, in panic, worried that something else has gone wrong, I still cannot look at my father without fighting tears, without feeling this profound relief and gratitude that he is safe, but also rage that he had to undergo such an indignity to his body and to his spirit. A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a university, generally in the United States, although the term is also used for secondary education institutions.. Tolerance means I will make space for you beside me on some kind of imaginary national bus, then slide back over so you don’t get too much of what I never stopped thinking is mine. Wellesley, you see, is not just a place but an idea -- an experiment in excellence in which diversity is not just tolerated, but is embraced. The only acceptable way of wasting your time on earth is online shopping. And so, class of 2015, please go out there and make Feminism a big raucous inclusive party. I thought I’d urge you, as you move away from this institution that places a premium upon thought and speech, upon intellectual rigor and mindful social endeavor, to hold the language that enters your ears and mind and imagination to a standard of clarity, intelligence, and integrity. Feminism should be a party full of different feminisms. And for a number of days, my family and I went through the kind of emotional pain that I have never known in my life. I visited the unmarked site of many a long-ago slave auction. It follows the full text transcript of Hillary Rodham's Wellesley Student Commencement Speech, delivered at Wellesley, MA — May 31, 1969. So, I have not told you this anecdote as a way to illustrate my discovery of gender injustice. Commission magazine articles that teach men HOW TO KEEP A WOMAN HAPPY. Okay, one last thing about my mother. But to love is to give AND to take. Because you never know. Now girls are often raised to see love only as giving. So instead of language, what I want to talk about today is love. It’s a beautiful idea, I think. Ms. Morrison addressed the 2004 graduating class of Wellesley College. Among other things, her speech addressed student protests, which she had supported as president of Wellesley College Government Association, and was delivered following the official commencement speech from Massachusetts … Think about what you WANT to really matter to you. https://cs.pn/2HdgOhv In love, I found courage, a willingness to race forward into new places, new experiences, new risks. In my work as an educator, and my life as a citizen, I have been heartened and edified by the ways members of your generation have chosen to see and to act in the world. Or I could try and do something different. I read about your rather lovely tradition of referring to older students as “big sisters” and younger ones as “little sisters.” And I read about the rather strange thing about being thrown into the pond—and I didn’t really get that—but I would very much like to be your honorary big sister today. I have admired Wellesley—its mission, its story, its successes—for a … Originally the students were not pleased with Bush as the speaker, wanting Alice Walker a feminist who You are ridiculously lucky to be graduating from this bastion of excellence and on these beautiful acres. Please love by giving and by taking. Thank you for reminding me that struggle fosters growth, and that rewards alone are a distraction from the larger work each of you—each of us—is here to do, which is to evolve in mind and spirit, and to change the lives of others for the better. I have had some conflicted feelings about accepting this invitation to deliver the Commencement Address to Wellesley’s Class of 2004. But Love is a radical shift. You know me: almost immediately I began thinking about what I might say. Because if there were a Standard Handbook published annually by the Secret Society of Certified Feminists, then that handbook would certainly say that a woman should not be called, nor want to be called, a CHAIRMAN. My writing might not have ended up being successful. Print friendly. The "commencement" is a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred upon graduating students. And thank you for that wonderful welcome. They were merely privileged. A commencement speech is typically given by a notable figure in the … So I decided to try to look older. I think this makes sense. Sometimes you will need to push it aside in order to see clearly. Which means that I would like to give you bits of advice as your big sister: All over the world, girls are raised to be make themselves likeable, to twist themselves into shapes that suit other people. That degree, and the experience of being here, is a privilege. CONTACT SHEET: Wellesley College senior Hillary Rodham (later Clinton) talks about her speech for the college commencement, Wellesley, Massachusetts, June 11, 1969. I wanted him to disagree with the substance of my argument, but by looking at me, young and female, it was easy for him to dismiss what I said. And in media interviews make sure fathers are asked how they balance family and work. But first I’ll preface it with another anecdote. Our Commencement speaker was a man (this much I remember) - Neil McElroy, Eisenhower's Secretary of Defense. The truth is that I learned so much more about feminism from watching the women traders in the market in Nsukka where I grew up, than from reading any seminal feminist text. I also visited two or three small praise houses where blacks met for worship and fellowship in the days of slavery, and where their descendants continue to meet for the same reasons today. But ‘because you are a woman’ is not one of them. And, finally I would like to end with a final note on the most important thing in the world: love. But gender is always about context and circumstance. I can think of fairly good reasons for doing any of these. Now it might not have worked out. When God appears in the old testament, he is often a source of upheaval, of troubling, he urges a plumbing of the depths, a mining of great spiritual dredge, a stirring up of the smooth surface, an animating of what might appear to be calm. Thank you for finding time, amid all the many things you as college students must keep up with, for caring about the world beyond this beautiful campus. Thank you for resisting the safe and self-serving choices that would facilitate rewards without struggle. What I felt then was not courage but a desire to make an effort. Spanning from her childhood to her 2016 presidential run, Hillary tells the story of Hillary Clinton —in her own words. I realized I would be a very unhappy doctor and I really did not want to be responsible for the inadvertent death of my patients. I bring greetings to you from my mother. I might not have been given an American scholarship. And it pained me to look at the other human because I knew that dosing so might embolden him to scold or even berate me. But on second thoughts, I realized that as much as I admire Wellesley, even yellow eye-shadow was a bit too much of a gesture. In closing, I want to congratulate you on what you have diligently and lovingly accomplished. It did not speak to me. I also knew that victimhood is not a virtue. I could see her circling around them, growling, barking, challenging their very right to exist in space and time. Don’t let it blind you too often. And as you graduate today, I urge you to think about that a little more. I thought it was a very good thing that the word ‘feminist’ would be introduced to a new generation. I always liked this story, and admired what I thought of as my mother’s fiercely feminist choice. Nora Ephron '62 speaking at Wellesley College Commencement 1996. Speaking of eye shadow, I wasn’t very interested in makeup until I was in my twenties, which is when I began to wear makeup. I like the ways that God’s love works in the sources of inspiration and instruction that have sustained African American life in this country for centuries. And the experience has made me re-think many things, what truly matters, and what doesn’t. That being discriminated against does not make you somehow morally better. The other dog’s good behavior cast my own Coco’s in a still worse light. The conversation at dinner was about traditional Igbo culture, about the custom that allows only men to break the kola nut, and the kola nut is a deeply symbolic part of Igbo cosmology. Who hasn’t changed for love? Who hasn’t dreamt of being changed, transformed by it? I could have said that this woman was important to me, and I could have talked the talk, and I could have been given the prize and a shiny present. Such as get married and have children. Tolerance requires no cognitive shift. In my work as an educator, and my life as a citizen, I have been heartened and edified by the ways members of your generation have chosen to see and to act in the world. I once told the story to a friend, a card carrying feminist, and I  expected her to say bravo to my mother, but she was troubled by it. Please do not twist yourself into shapes to please. I told myself that I would tough it out and become a psychiatrist and that way I could use my patients’ stories for my fiction. Actually, she said, she WAS a chairman. I speak because I think our time on earth is short and each moment that we are not our truest selves, each moment we pretend to be what we are not, each moment we say what we do not mean because we imagine that is what somebody wants us to say, then we are wasting our time on earth. I knew from this personal experience, from the class privilege I had of growing up in an educated family, that it sometimes blinded me, that I was not always as alert to the nuances of people who were different from me. The meeting was about to begin. On the last night of this trip, I attended a ring shout, where the deep faith and abiding courage of the enslaved was honored in song and dance. I’m truly, truly happy to be here today, so happy, in fact, that when I found out your class color was yellow, I decided I would wear yellow eye shadow. Because I had begun to ask myself what it really means to wear this FEMINIST label so publicly. Delivered 1 June 1990. 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