A Step into the Unknown Commencement at Tufts University

2010 - 2019

Many of the decade's Commencement speeches addressed the need for tolerance, compassion, civility, and the healing of divisions, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential election.

You can accomplish what you want to without ever having to hurt someone else. Be competitive, but never lose sight of the rest of humanity. Be civil in all your arguments and struggles, and demand civility from others.

– Gittleman, Sol. Commencement Speech, 2010

"No matter our race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, we are all equal shareholders in the American Dream. And that means we do not fear our differences, we embrace them.

Living up to that principle, and valuing fairly the contributions of each other, is what Tufts’ Council on Campus Diversity was all about, and it is the great test our nation must pass in the 21st Century."

– Albright, Madeline. Tufts Commencement Speech, 2015

This is a crazy world you’re entering. As I sit here and look at you guys in these seats today, I see the looks of excitement and joy masking what I know has to inside to be a sense of uncertainty. I wish I could tell you that whatever uncertainty you’re feeling was just butterflies, and that it’ll all be OK. But I can’t. As the graduating class of 2017, you have the uniquely proprietary burden of actually being the first graduating class to truly “Make America Great Again.” I can’t think of a time since the Vietnam War… I can’t honestly think of a time since the Vietnam War that a graduating class has had more on its shoulders than you all.

– Barris, Kenya. Tufts Commencement Speech, 2017

You come away from here poised to be exemplary American and global citizens. The tell of a patriot is not by how much he loves the symbols of the nation, but by how much she loves the people of her country. Love is valuing lives, sharing space, resources, knowledge, and power with your fellow citizens; understanding that they cherish and are cherished by their loved one as much as you are by yours.

The flag and anthem—even the ridiculously hard one to sing, but they rocked it today—they are only symbols; just things. You'd look crazy, like a crazy person hugging a flag. But you can hug the children of your nation by feeding their bodies and their minds, by keeping them safe from assault while they're growing. That is how you love your country.

– Woodard, Alfre. Tufts Commencement Speech, 2019