Mark G. Little and Amy Chen were chosen last week to give the male and female Harvard Orations at this year’s Class Day, while B.J. Novak will deliver the more humorous Ivy Oration. The three were chosen from three rounds of auditions.
Chen enthusiastically summarized her speech as a way to make her classmates think about the ways in which Harvard has left a mark on their lives. It’s a mark, she says in her speech, which will “often precede our own reputations and merits with her [Harvard’s] own.”
Chen, who after graduation is going into consulting, has long-term plans of going to law school and working with the underprivileged.
“Regardless of where we come from, we’re all blessed that we have the name of Harvard attached to us,” she said. “My hope is that sharing my experiences will help motivate us to think collectively and individually about what it means to be good stewards of our privilege and of our Harvard education.”
Little plans to speak about the difference between people’s dreams and goals and the actual plans that they end up following. Not wanting to reveal too much about the speech, he simply said that his inspiration comes from conversations that he has had with other graduating seniors about their quickly-approaching next steps in life.
In giving the Harvard Oration, Little said he is following one of his own dreams that he has had ever since arriving here as a freshman-to speak either at Class Day or at Commencement.
Novak declared that he had “grander ambitions” than simply delivering the traditional humorous Ivy Oration.
“[I plan to] prove that the philosophical doctrines of existentialism and anti-realism are irreconcilable,” he said. “I know that people are expecting something funny, but this will be the best 90 minutes they ever spent.”
Matthew O’Hare, a Class Marshal and a co-chair of the selection committee, says that the three speakers were chosen through the callback process based on their delivery, the essence of their speech, and how the content relates to Harvard.
The best part about his position on the committee, he said, was “hearing amazing stories from all of the people in my class who I had never met before.”
This year’s Class Day ceremonies will be held Wednesday, June 6 in Tercentenary Theatre, one day before Commencement. The festivities, which will start at 2 p.m., will include Bono’s speech, the delivery of the Harvard and Ivy Orations and the unveiling of the Class Ode and Ames Award recipients.