This is an essay of appreciation for all the students whose time here has been defined by milestones that they may never share with their professors or future employers. The ones who arrived on campus burdened with sometimes difficult stories, but who then also came to realize that they didn’t have to be wholly defined by those stories — that they had the ability to become authors of new stories, stories of their own.
It is finally your moment for gowns, mortarboards, speeches, bagpipers, marching bands, swing bands, last-chance dances, and champagne toasts. Harvard — and all of us — are all dressed up and waiting for you. Welcome back, Classes of 2020 and 2021! The time for our long-awaited reunion is finally here.
As the semester now winds down, we wish for so much for all of you: good health and safety, first and foremost, but also meaningful work, moments of joy and fun, and friendships that nurture and enlarge you.
I suspect that, for many of you, what will endure long after the speeches have been forgotten (if you even paid attention to them in the first place), will be memories of those moments in college when, for whatever reason, you became a slightly better version of yourself.
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