The mildly inclement weather abated yesterday over Hanover to allow for a fine graduation ceremony. The featured commencement speaker was Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson '68, who shared some fond memories and good advice. You can find the transcript and audio here, along with the speeches by President Wright and Valedictorian Nikolas Primack. Blessedly, there was no trace of this lunacy to detract from the event.
This part of President Wright's speech was particularly inspiring:
You have learned that the world can sometimes be a scary place. You have seen individuals guided by the dark voices within them or led by demagogues of hate from without. You grew up with scenes of Columbine, were stunned by 9/11, and now you reflect on images of Virginia Tech.
But as Dartmouth graduates, you know neither to accept pessimism or fatalism nor to hunker down in fear. There are in this world vastly more people who care than there are those who hate. Love and respect and caring can stand up to evil and hatred. They can do so if those who embrace those values will stand.
One of the problems of our time may be the growth of a culture of fear, where our children grow up afraid of strangers and wary of the strange. Walls and gates of security come with some costs. Liberty, freedom of thought, of speech, of belief, and of association; a culture that welcomes the different and a society that assumes responsibility for the less fortunate; openness, generosity, curiosity—these explain American society at its best. They are not abstract sentiments to be traded for a false sense of security.
Congratulations and so long, Class of 2007.