President Sally Kornbluth encourages the Class of 2024

Here is the transcript of President Sally Kornbluth’s Speech at Commencement, prepared for presentation today.

Penny and Mikala ­— I express my gratitude for your remarks today and the leadership you have shown in our community.

Good day to all.

Traditionally, on this joyous occasion, the president gives a “charge” to the graduating class. In a year marked by significant campus unrest, I may not have words of advice or inspiration to offer. However, I wish to acknowledge a few lessons I have learned since my arrival at MIT 17 months ago.

First, I wish to address the parents and families.

It is widely known that the education provided to our students is renowned for its depth and rigor, and we take pride in the diverse set of skills and knowledge that every MIT graduate carries with them into the world.

Yet, the reality is that the students you entrusted to us were exceptional even before they crossed our path.

You are well aware of this fact on an individual level. You understand the unique challenges they faced and conquered. For some of you, the individual graduating today is the first in your family to pursue higher education. Some traveled thousands of miles to be here, while others overcame language barriers or personal adversities. Some juggled the demands of the MIT curriculum alongside family responsibilities and personal tragedies.

You have witnessed their personal growth and accomplishments even before their MIT journey. You have seen their intellect and character shine brightly.

Furthermore, you likely experienced the proud moment when you realized that they had surpassed your knowledge, making it impossible for you to assist with their academic endeavors.

You are acquainted with them as extraordinary individuals.

At MIT, we have the privilege of observing them collectively. When viewed in their entirety, they are a marvel of nature — as astonishing as a swarm of 17-year cicadas, as breathtaking as a total solar eclipse.

It has been our honor to educate and learn alongside them. We join you in having the utmost expectations for their future endeavors.

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