Jane F. Garvey's Commencement Address
2003 commencement remarks of Jane F. Garvey:
distinguished faculty, friends, members of the Board of Trusteesthank
you very much. This is a singular honor for me, particularly to
receive this in the company of such exemplary recipients, leaders
in their field--and to receive the degree from Mount Holyoke,
a place I love, among women I admire.
Thomas Wolfe was wrong:
You can go home again, and its quite wonderful!
And to the graduates,
I have some idea what it takes to get through here, so congratulationsand
you look terrific!
By the way, could
I ask the senior women who invited my son to the graduating party
last night one question? Where is he?!?
Many, many years ago
when I sat where you are sitting, President Kennedy had challenged
my generation to fight for civil rights, to join the Peace Corps,
explore space and carry the American dream to every corner of
Now its your
turn, and thats quite wonderful.
I remember sitting
there thinking, I wish I had a dollar for every time someone had
asked: So what are you going to do with the rest of your life?
But I would suggest
today one question is more important, and that is: How are you
going to live your life?
The fact is, you are
about to enter a world where you will no longer be judged by your
grades but by your character. You will be judged by the promises
you keep, the changes you make, your guts and your heart. In short,
you will by judged by the kind of citizen you are.
When I graduated,
perhaps like you, I didnt know where the world would take
me, but I promised myself Id never play it safe and I kept
My deepest hope is
that you wont play it safe either, that youll take
some risks, aim higher, and aim higher still. With each step it
becomes a little more risky but always more rewarding.
Today I congratulate
the phenomenal women of Mount Holyoke's class of 2003.
But in so doing
word to the parents. Im thinking of those days in the 80s
when most of todays graduates were born. Im thinking
of all of the homework you helped them do in the early yearsall
the homework you couldnt help them do in the later years,
all those love affairs, real and imagined you had to endure. All
the sleepless nights in high school, but youve done it!
And I congratulate you as well
but I will tell you, its
not over yet.