News at Princeton

Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014

Web Stories

Video: Words of wisdom from Commencement


To view the multimedia features on this page, you will need to download the latest version of Flash Player and/or enable JavaScript.


President Tilghman, the valedictorian and the President's Awards for Distinguished Teaching recipients share words of wisdom with the graduating class. Read more.


Video Closed Captions

(music)

Shirley M. Tilghman:
Luckily for you,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
the education you have received at Princeton --

Shirley M. Tilghman:
an education that we rightfully claim does not prepare you for one job

Shirley M. Tilghman:
but for many jobs --

Shirley M. Tilghman:
puts you in remarkably good stead in an uncertain time.

Shirley M. Tilghman:
The skills and traits that we strived to instill in you --

Shirley M. Tilghman:
critical thinking and writing,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
a finely tuned moral compass,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
a disciplined work ethic,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
a commitment to excellence in whatever you choose to do,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
compassion for those less privileged,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
and a devotion to service --

Shirley M. Tilghman:
will serve you well whatever comes next.

Holger Staude:
For everything we leave behind,

Holger Staude:
there is much that we take with us

Holger Staude:
as we walk through FitzRandolph Gate.

Holger Staude:
The first,

Holger Staude:
and perhaps the most important,

Holger Staude:
is our ability and our willingness to ask questions.

Holger Staude:
What we don't ask,

Holger Staude:
we'll never know.

Holger Staude:
Good answers are preceded by good questions,

Holger Staude:
and sometimes conceiving the right questions

Holger Staude:
is harder than arriving at the right answers.

David P. Dobkin:
I would like to introduce each of the award winners individually.

David P. Dobkin:
President Tilghman, I have the honor to present Professor Smith.

(applause)

Valerie Smith:
The seniors with whom I've worked

Valerie Smith:
actually seem to have a sense of cautious optimism.

Valerie Smith:
These are students who are incredibly bright,

Valerie Smith:
they have excellent research skills,

Valerie Smith:
and they have a really a profound sense of the importance of giving back.

Valerie Smith:
They're people to whom much has been given

Valerie Smith:
and they are therefore aware

Valerie Smith:
of the fact that much is expected of them.

Valerie Smith:
And it seems to me that they are taking that sense of responsibility,

Valerie Smith:
kind of entrepreneurial spirit,

Valerie Smith:
and using that to equip themselves as they leave Princeton,

Valerie Smith:
and I think that is a really wonderful and encouraging sign

Valerie Smith:
for what life outside of Princeton will hold for them.

David Dobkin:
President Tilghman,

David Dobkin:
I have the honor to present Professor Malik.

(applause)

Sharad Malik:
So, I've been very impressed by the willingness of our students to learn,

Sharad Malik:
even if this means stepping out of their comfort zones.

Sharad Malik:
I've had a classics major in my engineering course research battery technology,

Sharad Malik:
I've had a professional concert violinist

Sharad Malik:
who takes a lab course on chip-making technology

Sharad Malik:
and understanding how this is going to change in the future.

Sharad Malik:
So, what I hope we've been able to do in their four short years here

Sharad Malik:
is train our students on the process of learning

Sharad Malik:
because this is something that's going to be with them forever through the rest of their lives.

Sharad Malik:
I hope they feel emboldened,

Sharad Malik:
our graduates who are getting out today feel emboldened by these skills,

Sharad Malik:
and go out and get into other areas, get into new areas,

Sharad Malik:
because this is something that they'll really need to do

Sharad Malik:
as the world inevitably changes around them.

David Dobkin:
I have the honor to present Professor Duneier.

(applause)

Mitchell Duneier:
If you can develop the capacity for genuine empathy,

Mitchell Duneier:
and also be able to admit when you're wrong,

Mitchell Duneier:
then you and other people around you will be much happier.

David Dobkin:
I have the honor to present Professor Glaude.

Eddie Glaude:
Yeah, my piece of advice for graduating students is to

Eddie Glaude:
not get success and greatness confused.

Eddie Glaude:
Princeton students are always for the most part successful.

Eddie Glaude:
That's ... that's pretty much

Eddie Glaude:
an easy goal to set.

Eddie Glaude:
We need you to aspire to greatness,

Eddie Glaude:
to really set your eyes on fundamentally transforming the world.

Eddie Glaude:
It's in your hands, and so

Eddie Glaude:
dare to step up to the task.

Holger Staude:
Your farewell from this university need not be permanent.

Holger Staude:
In fact, one of the great supporters of international students at Princeton,

Holger Staude:
Shelby M.C. Davis,

Holger Staude:
likes to say that life is lived in thirds:

Holger Staude:
learn,

Holger Staude:
earn

Holger Staude:
and return.

Holger Staude:
I agree with Mr. Davis,

Holger Staude:
but I hope,

Holger Staude:
I hope that the thirds of our life are not mutually exclusive.

Shirley M. Tilghman:
And so,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
as you walk,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
skip,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
or run through the FitzRandolph Gates today,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
as educated citizens of this and many other nations,

Shirley M. Tilghman:
I hope you take from this place

Shirley M. Tilghman:
a sense of purpose

Shirley M. Tilghman:
that is drawn from an understanding of the major challenges of our day

Shirley M. Tilghman:
and a lifelong search for meaning.

Shirley M. Tilghman:
My warmest wishes go forward with you all.

Back To Top