Thank you very much Margaret for that very generous introduction.First let me say congratulations to our graduates. Welcome back to our alumni. Good afternoon to everyone—colleagues and friends; family members, loved ones, and our most special guest - our eminent speaker. It’s a pleasure to address to you this afternoon and to offer a few reflections as I approach the end of my first year as president.
I realize, however, that I’m literally the last thing standing between you and the speech that you’ve all actually come to hear. So, while I cannot promise to be mesmerizingly eloquent, I can at least promise to be mercifully brief.
We gather this afternoon buoyed by the aspirations of our graduates—some 7,100 people who have distinguished themselves in nearly every field and every discipline imaginable. We welcome them into the venerable ranks of our alumni, and we send them forth into a world that is very much in need of both their minds and their hearts.
During my brief time in office, our world has reminded us daily of the necessity and the urgency of our work.
We have witnessed the coarsening of public discourse and the volatility of national and international affairs.
We’ve mourned when gun violence has cut futures short, and when gatherings of the faithful—Jewish, Muslim, and Christian—have ended in bloodshed.
We’ve continued to confront the existential threat posed by climate change, and we’ve reeled as extreme weather has destroyed homes and claimed lives.
And we’ve grown increasingly aware of the scourge of sexual harassment and sexual assault, and have struggled to consider how institutions, Harvard among them, can prevent and address behavior that threatens individuals and weakens communities.
To be sure, there is much in this world that rightly troubles us. But there’s even more that gives us cause for hope.
And it’s that spirit of hope – the willingness both to see the world as it is, and to consider how we can help make it better – that is in many ways the spirit that defines this university and I believe joins us all together.
Since I took office on July 1, I’ve seen the value of both knowledge and education at work in the world. I’ve seen the good being done by our faculty and our students, by our alumni, and our staff, and our friends. And I’ve seen expressions of compassion, and patience, and kindness, and wisdom that have moved me deeply.
I had the privilege of helping to celebrate members of our community who were recently sworn in as new United States citizens—graduates of the Harvard Bridge Program. Through their own hard work, and with the generous help of volunteer student and alumni tutors, they can now enjoy the full rights and privileges of citizenship – and the full sense of belonging that comes with it. It was truly and inspiring ceremony.
At a time when so many people are dispirited by the deep divisions in our country, when our politics seem so dysfunctional, our graduates are taking up the cause of public service by running for office in record numbers. The world needs them, and their willingness to serve gives me hope.
As Margaret noted, this past year I traveled to meet alumni who are helping to strengthen communities in Detroit, Dallas, and Houston; in Miami, Phoenix, and New York; in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego—in China, Japan, and England —people who are not only launching and building businesses and creating opportunity, but people who are also teaching, volunteering, advancing important legislation, working for non-profits, and serving the public good.
I’ve yet to meet anyone who thinks that this world that we live in is perfect. This is not a political statement. It’s equally true of liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. And if you don’t think that the world that we live in is perfect, the only way it gets better is if good people work to repair it. Our students, our faculty, our staff and alumni are doing so daily, and it makes me so proud.
This year I had the privilege to meet, and be moved by, not just one but two of the nation’s preeminent poets—the United States Youth Poet Laureate, our own Amanda Gorman, and the United States Poet Laureate, our own, Tracy K. Smith [gesture to Tracy, who will be on stage]. I’ve also had the chance to marvel at artists who every day breathe life into our campus with their performances and creative work – it’s amazing to see the talent that is represented on this campus and among our alumni, our faculty, and staff.
And every day I’ve learned more about the remarkable efforts of our faculty to improve the world:
Alison Simmons and Barbara Grosz, are making sure that the next generation of computer scientists is prepared to address the ethical questions posed by the development of new digital technologies;
Ali Malkawi and his HouseZero, which is demonstrating the possibilities of ultra-efficient design and new building technology to respond to the threat of climate change;
Sasha Kill Ewald, who’s revealing how marriage and parenthood affects wages, and helping us understand why economic inequality persists across generations—and also how we might break the cycle of poverty.
I have also come to know about the work...
Of Conor Walsh, who’s helping people with neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases walk again with soft exosuits that use the latest robotic technology to help improve movement;
Of Sara Bleich, who’s helping to address the obesity epidemic by considering how changes in public policy can reduce consumption of high calorie foods and soft drinks;
Of Tony Jack, who’s changing how colleges think about supporting disadvantaged students and improving their prospects not just in college but throughout life;
Of Arlene Sharpe and Gordon Freeman, who are giving hope to cancer patients by harnessing the body’s own immune system to treat disease;
Of Xiaowei Zhuang, whose super-resolution imaging is enabling scientists to look inside cells with unprecedented clarity and see how molecules function and interact;
Of Andrew Crespo, who’s culled massive amounts of data from our trial courts to change how we think about our system of criminal justice—and how we might improve it.
I have met faculty across our schools who are expanding religious literacy; who are exploring the role of the arts in promoting justice; who are confronting the opioid epidemic from every angle; who are working to make state and local government more effective. Their work is nothing short of inspiring.
And I’ve come to know students – absolutely amazing students. To the parents who are here thank you, thank you for sending these remarkable young people to us. They are nothing short of inspiring. Interacting with them is one of the great privileges of living and working on a college campus. Adele and I have had dinner with them in the Houses. We’ve watched them perform on the stage and on the playing fields. I’ve met with them during office hours and talked with them as I’ve gone running with them. If you spend time with our students, you cannot help but feel optimistic about our future.
This past week I had lunch with thirty graduating seniors. It was wonderful to hear how they think they have changed and matured during their four years here. I actually ask them how is your current self different from your 18-year-old self that arrived here on campus, and the stories were marvelous. And I have witnessed this process of transformation myself.
I helped to advise three of our incoming first-year undergraduates this year, and they helped me experience and understand Harvard through their eyes. To Andrew, Claire, and Karen, thank you for sharing your first year with me and for teaching me so well.
For every person I’ve named, for every example I’ve cited, there are thousands of other Harvard citizens—students and alumni, faculty and staff—who are making the world better in more ways than we could possibly imagine. That is the power of this institution—not its brand, not our buildings, not our pomp and circumstance (as wonderful and terrific as that is). This University, Harvard, is its people— their aspirations, their achievements—their diversity of background, experience and thought – their desire to see beyond themselves and their devotion to serving others.
So, yes, I am an optimist. I’m an optimist because I live and work among all of you – because I see what you do and because I know the boundless potential of what you can do. May we look to one another for inspiration in the years to come. May the expectations placed on us be exceeded only by our ability to meet them. And may Harvard continue to be a wellspring of hope for the world. It’s an honor to serve you as your president.
Congratulations to our new alumni—and thank you all.
首先让我向毕业生表示祝贺。欢迎回到我们的校友。 同事和朋友们，家庭成员，亲人们和我们最特别的客人 - 我们的杰出演讲者，大家下午好！很高兴今天下午向你们致辞，并在接近我作为校长的第一年任期结束时提出一些反思。
今天下午我们聚集了毕业生的愿望 - 大约7,100人，他们在几乎每个领域和每个可以想象的学科中都表现出色。我们欢迎他们进入我们校友的尊贵队伍，我们将他们带入一个非常需要他们的思想和心灵的世界。
正是这种希望的精神 - 既看到现实世界又考虑如何帮助改善世界的意愿 - 这在许多方面都是用来定义这所大学的精神，我相信我们将会把所有人联合起来。
我有幸帮助庆祝我们社区的成员，他们最近宣誓就任美国新公民 - 哈佛大桥计划的毕业生。通过他们自己的努力，以及志愿者学生和校友导师的慷慨帮助，他们现在可以享受公民身份的全部权利和特权 - 以及随之而来的完全归属感。这是真正鼓舞人心的仪式。
正如玛格丽特所指出的，在过去的一年里，我前往会见并帮助加强底特律，达拉斯和休斯敦社区的校友; 在迈阿密，凤凰城和纽约;在洛杉矶，旧金山和圣地亚哥 - 在中国，日本和英国 - 人们不仅开展和建立企业并创造机会，而且还在教学，志愿服务，推进重要立法，为非营利组织工作的人，并为公益事业服务。
今年，我有幸与两位国家最杰出的诗人 - 美国青年诗人桂冠，我们自己的阿曼达戈尔曼，以及美国桂冠诗人，我们自己的特蕾西K见面并受感动。史密斯[对Tracy挥手，她将在主席台上]。我也有机会惊叹那些每天为我们的校园带来生活的艺术家们的表演和创造性的工作 - 看到这个校园以及我们的校友，我们的教师和员工所代表的才能真是令人惊叹。
Alison Simmons和Barbara Grosz正在确保下一代计算机科学家准备好解决新数字技术发展带来的道德问题;
Sasha Kill Ewald揭示了婚姻和父母身份如何影响工资，并帮助我们理解为什么经济不平等在几代人之间持续存在 - 以及我们如何打破贫困循环。我也开始了解这项工作......
Arlene Sharpe和Gordon Freeman，他们通过利用身体自身的免疫系统治疗疾病，为癌症患者带来希望;
安德鲁·克雷斯波（Andrew Crespo）从我们的审判法庭中剔除了大量数据，以改变我们对刑事司法系统的看法 - 以及我们如何改进它。
我开始认识学生 - 非常棒的学生。对于在座的家长表示感谢，感谢您将这些非凡的年轻人送到我们这里。它们简直就是鼓舞人心的。与他们互动是在大学校园生活和工作的重要荣耀之一。阿黛尔和我在众议院和他们共进晚餐。我们看过他们在舞台上和比赛场地上表演。我在办公时间与他们见面并与他们交谈，因为我和他们一起跑步。如果你和我们的学生共度时光，你会对我们的未来感到乐观。
对于我所提到的每一个人，对于我所引用的每一个例子，都有成千上万的其他哈佛公民 - 学生和校友，教职员工 - 他们以比我们想象的更多的方式让世界更美好。这就是这个机构的力量 - 不是它的品牌，不是我们的建筑，也不是我们的盛况和环境（就像那样精彩和难以置信）。哈佛大学就是指哈佛人 - 他们的愿望，他们的成就 - 他们的背景，经验和思想的多样性 - 他们渴望超越自己以及他们对服务他人的奉献精神。
所以，是的，我是一个乐观主义者，这因为我在你们所有人中间生活和工作 - 因为我看到你们所做的事情，因为我知道你们能做什么的无限潜力。愿我们在未来几年互相展望灵感。愿我们对我们的期望超过我们满足它们的能力。哈佛可能继续成为世界希望的源泉。能够为您担任校长感到荣幸。
恭喜我们的新校友 - 谢谢大家。